Mining sector considers industry-wide sexual predator registry


The mining industry is debating an industry-wide blacklist of sexual predators after a torrent of allegations emerged.

Mining plans to blacklist sexual predators after a torrent of shocking allegations emerge, industry-leading body conceding ‘we have failed’ to make sites safe for the women.

Some of these claims are now in court, but all signs point to the incidents reported are just the tip of the iceberg, with widespread underreporting.

Elysha Millard, head of safety, health and welfare for the Western Australia Chamber of Minerals and Energy, said some of the reasons for this were not yet fully understood, but that there had been clear comments.

“We believe that this should be generalized throughout the sector,” she said Wednesday during the parliamentary inquiry into sexual harassment against women in the air transport sector.

Ms Millard, who chairs a newly formed task force to examine the widespread problem, said some victims “just want the behavior to stop” but did not report it because they knew it would trigger an investigation and escalation.

She was also asked about a “culture of fear” and an “extremely concerning” claim that a woman was fired from her job after reporting an allegation.

“It’s not something we condone at all,” Ms. Millard said.

BHP’s compliance officer Tim Robinson also told the inquest that some victims were concerned about “retaliation” and did not want the stress of an investigation.

It is estimated that 74 percent of women in the industry have experienced sexual harassment or assault.

Asked about this horrific statistic, the chamber’s general manager, Paul Everingham, was asked: ‘What is going wrong? “

“Have we failed as an industry? Absolutely, ”replied Mr. Everingham.

“Some victims have not felt the support and protection of their employer, and they rightly choose to leave their employer.

“We have to help change that, we have to do better.

“Until every last mine was safe, we didn’t do our job.

“We need to be better at screening before hiring, exposing unacceptable behavior and reporting it. “

Reports of some offenders who had been fired for their behavior and later appeared at other mining sites were passed on to Mr Everingham and he said he had heard similar stories.

“Typically, they are subcontractors as opposed to operators: the customer or the mining company can say ‘we don’t want this person there for good reasons’ but they can be at someone else’s site. company the next day, ”he said.

“We don’t think that’s acceptable.

“It’s up to us to hold our contracting companies to account.

“Are we building a registry or a database of problem offenders? This is something the task force is considering.

“There is some support (in the industry). It is not unanimous.

“Everything is on the table: we are not excluding anything.

Those concerned about the proposal said the focus should be on the presumption of innocence, Everingham said.

BHP WA President Brandon Craig said his division has started a criminal background check trial “on every person we’re recruiting.”

Burns Beach MP Mark Folkard stressed that police checks would only reveal criminal convictions, not bad behavior, but drew an evasive response from Mr Craig on the issue of a scale registry. Of the industry.

Mr Craig said it was an option worth considering, but one that needed more debate.

“There may be other options,” he said.

“We have to work really hard to make sure that people who have been fired for really bad behavior don’t accidentally end up in another of our own operations.

“Anyone who has been fired from our company for sexual assault or sexual harassment, our systems have the mechanisms to ensure that these people do not accidentally return, but this is only BHP’s purview.

“Just getting this process to work efficiently has been quite difficult.

“The ability to extend this more broadly to the entire industry would clearly be valuable – it can take the form of a registry. “

Mr Craig said BHP was discussing “how we manage the rehabilitation of potential offenders”.

“There’s a whole spectrum of behaviors, so from what level of offense do we think people would be able to readjust (from) in one way or another?

“And what level of infringement is beyond the pardon threshold that we wouldn’t want from people in our business?”

“Likewise, we have to take into account certain confidentiality considerations. “

The miner had previously investigated that he had fired 48 workers for sexual assault and sexual harassment in his WA mining operations since 2019.

Mr Craig said he was deeply shocked when headlines erupted about a man accused of raping a colleague at BHP’s hosting village in Mulla Mulla near his new year South Flank mine last and feared that such information would deter women from working in the sector.

But luckily, BHP hasn’t seen a decrease in recruitment, he said.

Mr Everingham said there was a lot of talk that more women in the sector would help change the culture, but that it would be difficult to attract them when the problem was so widespread and well known.

“Until we put our ship in order, we will struggle with diversity,” he said.

Mr Everingham said women currently made up around 20% of the industry – down from “zero” in the 1970s – but up to 45% at BHP.

“We’re not doing something right if the number is stuck at 20 percent,” he said.

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