BHP says it must do more to address toxic workplace culture

‘We know unacceptable behaviour still occurs in all workplaces, including BHP. And it shouldn’t,’ MacKenzie said.
Image: Bloomberg

BHP Group Ltd. has been focused on tackling all forms of harassment at its workplaces for some time, but the company still has more to do, Chairman Ken MacKenzie said in a speech Wednesday.

Read: South Africa urges Rio Tinto workers to report cases of discrimination

His comments come after rival miner Rio Tinto Group in February published an explosive report showing evidence of endemic sexual harassment, racism and bullying across its operations. The industry’s remote mines can be especially risky for women. They remain largely male-dominated, with workers living in camp-style accommodation that blurs the line between work and social life.

Read: Investors urge miners to change ways after damning Rio Tinto workplace report

“We know unacceptable behaviour still occurs in all workplaces, including BHP. And it shouldn’t,” MacKenzie told a conference in Melbourne. “Our data shows that an inclusive and diverse workforce is safer, more engaged and more productive,” he added.

BHP revealed last year that it had fired 48 workers at its sites in Western Australia since July 2019 after verifying allegations of harassment, as well as receiving two substantiated allegations of rape.

The global miner has increased female participation across the business by two-thirds since 2016, lifting it to over 30%, MacKenzie said, although it still has work to do to meet an aspirational target of gender balance by 2025.

Demands on large corporations from a range of stakeholders “seem louder, and more conflicting than ever before,” MacKenzie said, but BHP must not lose sight of the opportunities afforded by the increased focus on environmental, social and governance issues.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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