Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update 

Updated: 7 April 2020 (please note: this page will be regularly updated to reflect changing circumstances)  

As the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact businesses across the world, it is our responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our entire workforce, our families and communities as we stand together during this unprecedented global health and economic crisis. 

 

Keeping our work mates safe 

As always, our primary focus remains on providing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment for the entire Fortescue family. Since the outbreak began in January 2020, we have carefully monitored its impact and guidelines introduced by Commonwealth and State Governments.  

Our Incident Management Team is meeting daily to review our operations and the Government’s advice. As the social distancing guidelines have expanded, we have responded to each additional measure quickly and are regularly communicating with our teams on all matters relating to the mining sector, as well as the importance of physical distancing and stringent hygiene.  

Our focus on the health and safety of our workforce extends to their mental health and wellbeing. All Fortescue team members have access to the Fortescue Chaplains and Employee Assistance Program 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

For the latest information on the global outbreak, please find a range of available resources below: 

We are encouraging our team members to download the Australian Government’s Coronavirus App, available via the Apple App Store or Google Play, and to register for alerts via the Government’s WhatsApp service.  

 

Our COVID-19 case management process 

We have a robust COVID-19 case management process in place to manage a positive case at one of our sites or offices. 

This process is in accordance with the WA Department of Health guidelines and is reviewed on a daily basis. 

COVID-19 case management process summary: 

  1. Complete assessment for the team member who is unwell or thinks they may have had contact with a positive COVID-19 case
  2. If the team member is a suspected case, they are isolated with daily welfare checks 
  3. If the team member meets testing criteria outlined by the Department of Health, testing is arranged 
  4. Work mates who have been in contact with the team member who is a suspected case are identified 
  5. Work area is thoroughly cleaned and team members briefed on the situation 
  6. If it is a positive test result, work mates who were identified as having close contact are isolated and monitored and are tested if they meet testing criteria 
  7. As per standard protocol, any team members who require specialised medical services are evacuated off site based on medical severity. 

 

Our operations  

On 27 March 2020, we announced a temporary change to our operational site rosters from a two-week/one-week roster to a four-week/two-week roster. This will reduce people movement on and off our sites by around 40 per cent.  

The following additional measures are also in place for our team members at operational sites: 

  • Non-critical site-based employees have been relocated from site to work from home 
  • Additional charter flights and bus services to ensure appropriate distances are maintained between team members 
  • Introduction of mandatory airport temperature and health testing at the Perth Domestic Airport which is also being introduced at site aerodromes  
  • Changes to breakfast, dinner and crib services to reduce handling of food and service utensils 
  • Wet mess (licenced) areas have been closed with takeaway options only available with strict limits on purchases and opening times 
  • Gyms and swimming pool facilities across all our sites have been closed, with alternative arrangements such as outdoor activities being put in place  
  • Enforcing strict hygiene and 2m physical distancing measures across all our village services  

 

Our offices 

All team members based at the Fortescue Centre and Bennett Street offices in Perth are now required to work from home, unless there is a particular business need that requires them to be in the office.  

The Fortescue Family Room, our on-site creche facility, has been closed temporarily and external visitors, including family members, are unable to visit a Fortescue office unless critical for business.  

Additional measures include: 

  • Holding larger meetings like pre-starts outside so team members can maintain at least two metres physical separation from each other 
  • When using meeting rooms, the number of attendees should be no more than 50 per cent of the room capacity 
  • Encouraging team members to use phone calls or teleconferences instead of physical meetings  

Fortescue Centre inductions 

Online Fortescue New Starter Inductions have replaced face to face inductions. All new starters or returning personnel no longer attend inductions in person at the Fortescue Centre. For more information, please reach out to your recruiter or contact mobilisation@fmgl.com.au

 

Travel guidelines 

In line with the travel restrictions announced by the Commonwealth and State Governments, we have introduced a number of protocols relating to travel for Fortescue team members: 

  • Consistent with Australia’s border restrictions that require all international travellers arriving in Australia to self-isolate for 14 days, anyone who has returned from an overseas destination is not to return to or visit a Fortescue site or office until the mandatory quarantine period is completed. Team members can explore alternative working from home arrangements with their leader 
  • All domestic and international work-related travel for team members postponed until further notice  
  • All non-essential travel to operational sites postponed until further notice 

WA border restrictions  

Effective 24 March 2020, Western Australia has implemented strict border controls requiring all arrivals from other States in Australia to self-isolate for 14 days.  

We are working with our non-resident workforce to ensure Fortescue can continue to operate safely, maintain jobs, sustain our business and protect communities. This includes offering employees and contractors the opportunity to temporarily relocate to WA.

Confirmation of employment letters 

Our Fortescue People team will be providing all employees with a letter confirming that they are employed by Fortescue, should they be requested to provide evidence of authorisation to travel interstate or within the WA region. The letters will confirm that travel should be permitted on the basis that the purpose of work meets the criteria of an essential service. 

 

Supporting our communities

Since the outset, it has been Fortescue’s vision to ensure that the communities in which we operate benefit from our growth and development.

We understand the ongoing impact of COVID-19 will be challenging for many in our community, especially small businesses, and we are implementing practical solutions to support them during and after this global health and economic crisis.

On 1 April 2020, we announced a A$1 million donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations to ensure they have the necessary resources, infrastructure, capital and people to safely deliver emergency and essential primary health care services for remote and regional West Australians.

We would like to sincerely thank all our health care workers who are working on the frontline of the war against COVID-19, who are tirelessly working to save lives across Australia and the globe.

We have also extended the application deadline for our Fortescue Community Grants program to allow organisations and projects in the Pilbara impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 to apply for up to $5,000 in funding.

Suppliers

As a leading Australian business, we take our responsibility to our suppliers and business partners seriously. 

For the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will offer 14-day payment terms to all small businesses, benefitting an additional 250 suppliers. 

 

Communicating with our team  

We are committed to providing our team, contractors, suppliers and key stakeholders with the latest information as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.  

In addition to the daily Incident Management Team meetings, we have:  

  • Established a dedicated COVID-19 intranet page for employees and extranet page for contractors 
  • Introduced Executive and Leader calls, including with contractors  
  • Updated the Fortescue family via company-wide Weekly Meetings, which are streamed live to all sites, recorded and distributed to team members 
  • Sent direct text messages to employees and contractors relating to immediate changes as required.  

A number of videos have also been produced as an effective means of communication: 

  • Chairman and Founder, Andrew Forrest AO, on how Fortescue will get through this crisis as a team. You can view the video here
  • Elizabeth Gaines, CEO about our commitment to supporting mining in WA. You can view the video here.

 

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