Roster changes at the company’s other sites in the Pilbara, involving more than 3,500 people, are also being rolled out


Rio Tinto headquarters in Melbourne, Australia. (Credit: Canley at English Wikipedia)

Our iron ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia continue to combat the spread and impacts of COVID-19 by introducing further measures to help protect our employees and the community while keeping our operations running safely.

Last week more than 1,200 employees at two Pilbara sites, Yandicoogina and Greater Brockman Operations, commenced new rosters which have been redesigned to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Employees will work two weeks on followed by two weeks off, helping to protect both the community and our workforce.

Roster changes at the company’s other sites in the Pilbara, involving more than 3,500 people, are also being rolled out. These changes will reduce the travel frequency in and out of the Pilbara by replacing existing shorter schedules.

To service these changes, we have secured additional charter flights from Qantas and Virgin Australia Airlines to our Pilbara sites, ensuring compliance with social distancing guidelines by spacing workers appropriately on planes, and in airports.

Chris Salisbury, Chief Executive of our iron ore business said “Our number one priority is the health and safety of our people and our communities. We will continue to strengthen measures throughout our operations and at airports to ensure we are doing everything we can to put the health and safety of people first.

These measures mean we can keep our operations running, to ensure we continue delivering products to our customers and making a strong contribution to the Western Australian and Australian economies at a very challenging time.

Recent travel restrictions in to Western Australia have also resulted in changes to our national fly-in fly-out workforce. More than 700 employees with specialist skills have relocated to Perth from interstate or overseas to continue in their role.

Further actions we have taken to support the health and safety of the community and our workforce include:

From this week, all employees will be screened including temperature checks prior to boarding flights.
Introduction of site access control measures to manage entry to sites. Each operation will create ‘controlled zones’, where no people movements will occur, unless authorised and screened by site supervisors, other than on designated shift changes.
Reduced passenger capacity on buses for all high utilisation routes with every second seat tagged out as unavailable. Reduced occupancy in all light-vehicle travel.
Tightened social distancing measures in village dining rooms and for shift breaks.
Increased cleaning schedule across a range of facilities.
To date, we have committed an additional US$25 million globally to support community COVID-19 preparedness and recovery. This will include manufacturing hand sanitiser, donating medical equipment as well as supporting funding for local community projects and partnerships.

We have also contributed to the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia’s COVID-19 Community Support Initiative to benefit local communities throughout the State.

This initiative will provide a total of A$6.6 million will be distributed between three key WA organisations – Foodbank WA, Lifeline WA and Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations (RFDS WO). This builds on the A$15 million commitment we made to the RFDS in February to fund the purchase of WA’s third state-of-the-art Rio Tinto LifeFlight PC-24 jet.

Source: Company Press Release