BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Broadmeadow underground coal mine.
BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Broadmeadow underground coal mine.

No clear end to mining giant’s work from home plan

A TIMELINE for high-risk BHP workers to return back to Bowen Basin mines and offices has not been set.

All BHP employees over 65, over 50 for indigenous people, anyone with a chronic disease and those who are pregnant have been ordered to work from home or take paid leave since April due to the coronavirus crisis.

It is understood the mining giant is still in discussions about a plan to get workers back on site, in line with advice from health authorities.

Employees who have gone through the health screening process and are considered to be in a high risk category are being paid discretionary leave if they are unable to perform their role from home.

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Those who have chosen not to go through the health screening process are required to use accrued leave while away from site.

BHP has been supporting labour hire vendors to pay their workers in high risk categories who are not able to perform their roles at home.

The miner's union flagged issues with the work from home plan when it was first announced.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth said he was concerned about the extent of the medical information being sought by BHP and how it would be used.

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"No worker should face future discrimination because of health information they have provided due to COVID-19," he said.

The union also sought commitments from BHP that only relevant medical information would be sought, that it would be destroyed once the crisis was over and that all workers could be treated and assessed by their own doctors.