BHP combats coronavirus with stringent strategies

The Mt Whaleback reception, Western Australia. Image: BHP

BHP has enforced stringent measures to keep its operations going while minimising the risk of the coronavirus spread.

The company has relocated employees temporarily to comply with cross-border restrictions or quarantine requirements.

It has also reduced the number of people at mine sites, limiting them to critical employees and contractors only.

The world’s largest miner has also lifted personal hygiene protocols across the use of heavy equipment, trucks and light vehicles.

“The safe continuation of BHP’s operations is … critical for jobs and local economies in the many communities and countries where we operate,” BHP’s group health and safety executive (HSE) officer Rob Telford said.

“The nature of mining and petroleum operations is such that many of our people don’t have the opportunity to work from home, but with the controls we’re implementing we are confident that our workplaces are safe.

“We are working to implement further controls at our operated sites and offices in real time against a fast moving backdrop, and we are working hard to make sure we have the necessary supplies and equipment to maintain safe and healthy working areas for our people.”

BHP has banned international travel globally and limited domestic and international commuting.

It also reduced the numbers of people on planes, buses and in vehicles to meet social distancing recommendations.

Boarding flight to Spence, Chile. Image: BHP

Pre-start and other essential meetings are conducted outside where possible.

“BHP recognises there are higher risk demographics, for example due to medical conditions or age,” the company stated.

“Where required, we are putting extra controls in place appropriate with individual risk profiles.”

BHP has made its employee assistance program available at any time to workers, contractors and their families.

“Our first priority is the health and safety of our people, their families and their local communities,” Telford said.