Anglo American surveys female employees over state of facilities

Applicants undergo a training exercise as part of Anglo American's 'Balancing the Workforce' female trainee program. Image: Anglo American

Anglo American’s survey of PPE equipment and facilities for females at some of its central Queensland coal mines has created a backlash among its participants, according to CFMEU Mining and Energy.

The global miner performed a study on female workers’ familiarity and use of ‘she-wees’, menstrual cups and absorbent underpants as part of its strategies to improve inclusion on-site.

Almost 200 women from across Anglo American sites at Moranbah North, Grosvenor, Capcoal open cut, Grasstree and Dawson took part in the survey.

But flagging the use of these products is concerning in a work environment where mineworkers are regularly asked to delay toilet breaks due to production imperatives, according to CFMEU Mining and Energy industry safety inspector Jason Hill.

“Whether or not women use particular products should make no difference to employers providing clean accessible toilet facilities and breaks for workers to use them when they need to,” Hill said.

“Mineworkers, whether male or female, should be able to stop what they are doing and use the toilet facilities in the crib room when they need to, with no questions asked.”

Anglo American claimed that any suggestion the survey was about removing breaks was ‘completely wrong’.

“Additional information around the survey was provided to the CFMEU in March, so attempts to misconstrue the intent of the survey are extremely disappointing,” an Anglo American spokesperson told Australian Mining.

“We’re committed to improving the gender balance across our business and this survey is just one of many strategies we’re implementing to … encourage more women to join the industry.

“The survey was voluntary and completely anonymous. It asked a broad range of questions around health and wellbeing, personal protective equipment, our site facilities and how well they meet the needs of our female employees.”

Anglo American has engaged a third-party specialist in inclusion and diversity to develop and manage the survey responses. Improvements were already being made as a direct result of the audit, according to the company.