A new toolkit has been launched by the Western Australian Government’s Respect in Mining program, aiming to help the state’s mining companies create safer workplaces for women and complementing the start of National Safe Work Month this October. 

The Respect in Mining program is designed to support small and medium mining organisations to increase awareness and knowledge of the gendered drivers of violence, the impact of gender inequality on women’s safety and economic security, and the impact of gendered division in leadership and decision making.

The program’s tools and resources will provide guidance to mining companies on how to set clear standards and procedures for expectations of behaviour, and identify and appropriately respond to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace.

Developed by Curtin University’s Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health, the Respect in Mining toolkit will be available sector-wide. The program provides organisations with 19 tools and resources which can be adapted to their workplace, including:

  • Guidance on how to gain leadership support and commitment
  • A template to develop a sexual harassment and sexual assault policy
  • Assessment and audit tools to identify culture or risk of sexual harassment and sexual assault
  • Guidance on dealing with backlash and resistance
  • Procedures and guidance on how to review and improve practice

An implementation guide gives directions on how to put the tools and resources into practice and monitor the overall shift in workplace culture.

Gold Fields Australia will participate in a 12-month pilot of the Respect in Mining program across its Western Australia operations, scheduled to begin in early 2024.

The Respect in Mining program is based on the principles of the Department of Communities’s Respectful Relationships programs and is an initiative of the Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety program.

It forms part of a comprehensive strategy to stamp out unacceptable behaviour in the mining and resources sector, alongside the SPEAK UP, REPORT IT campaign and WorkSafe Western Australia’s 24/7 hotline, launched in August.

Western Australia Minister for Women’s Interest, Sue Ellery, said that everyone has a right to feel safe and supported at their place of work. 

“Workplace sexual harassment is not a women’s issue; it’s a societal issue which all organisations, employers and individuals have a responsibility to address.

“We need to encourage more women to join the resources sector by treating them with respect, ensuring their safety and providing support,” Ms Ellery said.

“The toolkit and the Respect in Mining program is one of many initiatives being undertaken by the Cook Government that highlights our commitment to ensuring the Western Australian resources sector offers a friendly, accommodating and empowering workplace for women.”

Western Australian Minister for Industrial Relations, Bill Johnston, said the Respect in Mining toolkit will help create safer workplaces for women throughout Western Australia. 

“While the mining and resources sector has begun its journey to change workplace culture, the Cook Government acknowledges there is still much more to be done.

“We all have a responsibility to speak out against sexual harassment and other unacceptable workplace behaviours.”

More information about the Respect in Mining program and the tools and resources available can be found at the Department of Communities’ Respect in Mining webpage.

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