BHP COVID-19 update

BHP CEO Mike Henry has unveiled a range of measures the miner is taking to help mitigate the virus’ impact including its own COVID-19 tracking app.
BHP COVID-19 update BHP COVID-19 update BHP COVID-19 update BHP COVID-19 update BHP COVID-19 update

BHP's Eastern Ridge operations in WA's Pilbara. Photo by Karma Barndon

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Henry said, broadly, the company expected to retain reduced numbers at work locations and use split-shifts when possible at offices and flexible working from home for some time, even with the easing of restrictions in Australia.

"All decisions related to easing restrictions at sites and in our offices will be based on targeted assessments of local risks, resources, needs and regulations, and with full consideration of the health and mental wellbeing of our people, their families and communities," Henry said.

"In recent weeks, there has been a small increase in the number of cases reported in our Chilean team across three sites [but] in all cases, our response plans were enacted quickly, with individuals suspected of having the virus safely evacuated for testing, isolation and medical care."

Henry said from next week, BHP would roll out voluntary field trials in Chile of a new app to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

If successful, the app could be deployed at other sites and offices across BHP's operations.

The app is similar to the contact tracing apps used by the Australian and Singaporean governments and will back-track the movements of employees or contractors who test positive to the virus to ensure the areas they worked in are isolated, cleaned and sanitised and the people they had contact with are informed.

To help Chilean workers further, BHP has also made its Thrive mental health toolkit available on its website in Spanish. 

Henry said most office-based workers in London, Singapore and Melbourne were still working from home, and those in Houston and Santiago were gradually returning to the office, albeit in reduced numbers while maintaining strict social distancing guidelines.

BHP established a $50 million recovery fund six-weeks ago to support Australia's COVID-19 fight, which to date has handed out $25 million to 46 organisations and initiatives across the country.

This includes $7.6 million to establish local community health clinics in Central Queensland; and $2.66 million to the Telethon Kids Institute in Western Australia for a COVID-19 drug trial.

It has also put $3 million towards two research projects at Australian universities looking at treatment drugs and a possible vaccine.