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One-fifth of WA women in mining have been sexually assaulted, survey reveals

A female Rio Tinto worker’s submission told of people being bashed and male workers watching porn on buses and planes.

“I will not go into the crib room at all. I bring all my own food. I have experienced and witnessed so much leering and sexual comments. I have seen a man watch porn on bus and plane,” she said.

“I have found porn magazine in a truck. I have had underwear stolen. I have had a male try get into my room. I have witnessed a colleague be videoed while eating her dinner and this video shared in a group chat while making pig noises.

“A female crew member on my crew was bashed by a male colleague. Bystanders did not report. People were saying she got what she deserved. I reported harassment on numerous occasions and nothing was done. I sat in my superintendent office crying my eyes out, begging to be moved … I heard nothing back, he didn’t even check on me.”

The inquiry comes after an increase in reporting to WA’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety for sexual assaults and harassment cases over the past three years which has included instances of alleged rape at mining camps.

Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA chief executive Paul Everingham apologised on behalf of the industry in June at a gathering of executives — which included Rio Tinto, BHP, Fortescue, Newmont, and Woodside — to anyone who worked in the sector and had been impacted by sexual assault, harassment or rape.

The chamber is changing its code of conduct for member companies to tackle the issue and several companies – including Rio Tinto and BHP – have brought in measures such as safe spaces, personal safety apps, security chaperones, and increased CCTV as part of efforts to protect workers at fly-in, fly-out camps.

Companies have also reviewed alcohol policies limiting the daily intake of workers at fly-in, fly-out camps, but the union has been critical of such moves saying blanket bans should be replaced with responsible service of liquor and workplace safety principles.

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