It is no secret that Western Australia’s Mining Industry plays a major part in keeping the Australian economy afloat. In 2019/2020 alone Western Australia’s mining and resources industries contributed more than $83 billion to Australia’s economy and provided more than 94,000 full time jobs (Australian Mining, 2021).
By the use of strict protocols, testing requirements and vaccination mandates, to date the 60,000 plus FIFO workers driving and flying to and from site have managed to stay relatively COVID free with minimal disruption to the hundreds of mine site locations across Western Australia. Until now.
Within the last week, Western Australia has experienced three scares of the Omicron variant of COVID entering into mine sites. The first is a lithium mine located in Bunbury in WA’s South West, that has seen a cluster grow to over 20 people. The union’s state secretary, Steve McCartney, said the first cases on site were notified on Sunday January 23rd, but by Tuesday night (January 25th) there had been no communication about them to the workers on site (ABC News, 2022).
A second mine site positive test has just been announced for BHP’s Yandi Mine in the state’s Pilbara region with a contractor working for the Yandi iron ore mine rail team returning a positive PCR result on Sunday after experiencing COVID symptoms (ABC News, 2022). With Omicron’s high transmissibility, Professor Clements, an Infectious Disease Expert from Curtin University, has rated the chance of an outbreak completely shutting down operations as “highly likely”.
The third scare has just been reported at a copper, zinc and precious metals mine in Yalgoo, in the state’s Murchison region – more details on how this will effect the site are yet to be released.
We know these sites will all have COVID Response Plans written and filed, ready to be sprung into action as soon as an unavoidable outbreak occurs.
But how do they communicate the steps of these COVID Response Plans to their dispersed and remote workforces?
We’ve seen with the lithium mine that there was a severe lack of communication between management and workers about what they should do next once they had heard about the outbreak. Communications lines broke down, showing the revealing the need for a revised way to instantly communicate with everyone on site. This can easily be done by using a tool that every single person would already have in their pocket – their mobile phone.
The TOKN Broadcast Test Message Service as a part of the TOKN CMS System allows management to send company-wide broadcast text messages and banners with the details of any COVID Incidents, safety banners or weather alerts that mobile workers need to know about. Workers receive an instant alert and push notification on their mobile or tablet device that can display all of the information that they need to know to keep them safe and “in the know” about what is happening around site.
It seems pretty simple to us – as always, TOKN is working to create a safer, more connected and more productive workforce.
To find out how you can stay ahead of the curve and minimise the risk of COVID Confusion, get in contact here.
Learn more here.