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Mining giant BHP mulls mandatory jabs for all staff, worksites

Business

One of Australia’s largest companies, Mining giant BHP, is assessing whether it will make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all staff and worksites.

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Qantas, Virgin and Alliance have already made vaccinations mandatory and the major banks like Westpac and CBA have started trialling workplace vaccinations.

In central Queensland, where the vaccination rate is low, BHP is working with Queensland Health, the Mackay Hospital and others to fund the conversion of an existing regional testing centre in Moranbah into a vaccination hub.

It is one of the first vaccination hubs in the Bowen Basin and is expected to administer up to 500 vaccines each week. The clinic has been vaccinating front-line workers such as nurses and paramedics for some weeks, and opened to the Central Queensland community from today.

BHP president of minerals Australia Edgar Basto said the company believed that everyone had to work together in the fight against the COVID-19 Delta strain in Australia, and we are determined to play our part.

In addition to its support for vaccine roll-outs, BHP said it was “actively assessing” vaccination as a condition of entry to BHP workplaces in Australia.

“BHP continually reviews the status and effectiveness of COVID-19 controls in line with the latest scientific evidence and expert health advice. The science is clear that widespread vaccination saves lives,” Basto said.

“As vaccinations become more accessible to all Australians, we have been encouraging our people to better protect themselves and their families and communities, and we will look for further opportunities to increase access and uptake of vaccinations.

“As a necessary control to protect the health and safety of our people and the communities where we operate, we are actively assessing vaccination as a condition of entry to our Australian sites and offices.

“We have an obligation to ensure our people are safe when they are at work, and to support the health of the regional communities where we operate. We respect individual choice and we will engage closely with our people as we move forward with this work.”

BHP expects to complete its technical assessment in September, with a policy likely to come into effect in early 2022, once people have had a reasonable opportunity to be fully vaccinated.

“In line with the road map agreed by national Cabinet, we recognise that the path forward is through widespread vaccination, and we are looking at a range of practical ways to help Australia safely reopen its borders and its economy while protecting communities and workforces,” Basto said.

“The measures we already have in place are helping to keep our people safe and our operations running, and we hope our trials and broader program of support will help Australia take further steps forward in tackling the virus.

“Getting more Australians vaccinated more quickly will help protect communities and enable a safe return to more normal ways of working across all sectors and regions – benefiting small and large businesses alike.”

 

 

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