Rio Tinto shines light on sexual harassment concerns

Rio Tinto has taken its stand against sexual harassment, filing a submission to the Community Development and Justice Standing Committee’s Inquiry into Sexual Harassment Against Women in the FIFO Mining Industry.

The 14-page submission is Rio Tinto’s presentation of its current processes as the company lights the way for improvements and proactivity.

Rio Tinto also provides recommendations on how the mining industry can improve at large, echoing findings from the Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report 2020 and calling for further clarity and simplicity in legislation.

Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Simon Trott said the company is eager to address and tackle the industry’s concerns.

“We welcome the opportunity to participate in the Inquiry and recognise the importance of shining a light on the issue of sexual harassment in our industry,” he said.

“The safety of our people is our top priority. I apologise to anyone who has experienced any form of sexual harassment, which has no place at our company and will not be tolerated.”

While Rio Tinto has already implemented measures to provide safer workplaces, it understands there’s still plenty of work to be done.

“Prior to the commencement of this inquiry, Rio Tinto had taken a number of actions across our global operations to address disrespectful behaviours more generally, and we have made some inroads in tackling these issues,” Trott said.

“In February, we established the Everyday Respect Taskforce to improve how we prevent and respond to disrespectful behaviours in the workplace including sexual harassment.

“Despite these important steps, we are acutely aware that people are impacted by sexual harassment within Rio Tinto’s operations and we will continue to seek to eliminate it from our business and the sector.”

It comes after the Australian Resources and Energy Group (AMMA) released its own submission to the inquiry, presenting its frustrations in the high prevalence of sexual harassment.

“The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has found 40 per cent of women have experienced sexual harassment in the resources sector compared to 33 per cent across all industries,” AMMA chief executive officer Steve Knott said.

AMMA has introduced ‘inclusive safety audits’ to examine the actual and perceived physical and psychological safety of employers in the resources and energy sector, as well as other training programs such as Active Bystander Training and an Appropriate Workplace Behaviours course.

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