Thursday 18th Aug, 2022

WA establishes new safety program for FIFO workforce

The Western Australian Government has established the Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety (MARS) program for the state’s FIFO workforce.

Funded with an initial $1.9 million investment, the State Government aims to address the issue of workplace sexual harassment and assault in the mining industry.

It also aims boost responses to mental health, drug and alcohol use and other health and safety issues in the mining industry.

The initiative will enhance the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) enforcement model and processes for responding to incidents of sexual harassment and assaults.

DMIRS is working with companies that have revealed the non-disclosure of events in the current parliamentary inquiry to determine whether they should be prosecuted.

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DMIRS will manage the MARS program in partnership with the Mental Health Commission, the Equal Opportunity Commission, and the Women’s Interests Minister.

This first phase of the MARS Program is scheduled to commence in 2022.

WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said the safety and health of workers is a high priority for the WA Government.

“Every worker should be able to go to work without fear of physical or psychological harm,” Johnston said.

“This $1.9 million funding allocation will support the first phase of the MARS program to address serious mental health, workplace culture and mine safety issues.”

WA Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk said she is very aware that women face an unacceptable and disproportionate risk of sexual violence in their homes, workplaces and communities.

“The level of underreporting of sexual assault and harassment in the mining and resources sector is completely unacceptable,” McGurk said.

“The McGowan Government is acting to ensure workers – especially those working on mine sites – are safe and protected at work.”

The WA Government will implement the 12 Respect@Work report recommendations that apply to the State Government and developing Western Australia’s first whole-of-government Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy.