Mining giant charges dropped over harassment documents

A workplace safety watchdog has ended its prosecution of Fortescue Metals Group for failing to supply documents relating to dozens of alleged sexual harassment cases at its mine sites.

The mining giant was charged with 34 counts of refusing or failing to provide documents related to alleged sexual harassment incidents at its Christmas Creek, Solomon and Cloudbreak operations.

West Australia's WorkSafe has instead accepted an undertaking from FMG to roll out strategies to combat inappropriate behaviour across the mining industry, including education for contract workers and executives.

“Fortescue has committed to spend more than $1.4 million in the first enforceable undertaking entered into under the state’s work health and safety legislation,” acting WorkSafe commissioner Sally North said on Monday.

“This is a substantial investment in improving industry capability and I firmly believe that this agreement is in the best interests of workers across the mining sector."

The money will fund projects and programs stemming from the Enough is Enough report recommendations, published after a WA parliamentary inquiry into sexual harassment in the mining industry.

These include implementing a security and duress app, contractor and sub-contractor education sessions, a review of mining camp designs, and psychosocial risk assessments

The inquiry in 2022 found WA's multi-billion dollar mining industry had failed to protect female workers from predatory behaviour, including targeted violence, stalking, grooming and threats to their livelihoods.

In a statement, FMG said the health and safety of its staff was its highest priority and it was committed to upholding workplace standards.

"Improving the safety of our workplaces and ensuring our team members feel safe to speak up is a critical priority for us," a spokeswoman said.

"We will continue to work and collaborate with WorkSafe to ensure our people always feel safe to speak up."

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