WAIO Mooka

Achieving gender balance in practice

BHP’s Mooka Ore Car Repair Shop (OCRS) is a high-tech, semi-automated production line, designed to safely conduct highly repetitive activities that are involved in maintenance of ore cars.

Mooka OCRS took on the challenge of achieving a more inclusive workplace. As part of our push for continuous improvement, we redesigned the OCRS to reduce risk from activities such as shunting and overhead crane use. This not only made the workplace safer, it also made it possible for a diverse pool of talent from the local community to participate in our workforce, without requiring specialist technical qualifications.

For example, the introduction of automated guided vehicles and a robotic gantry system means that dogging and rigging licences are no longer required, while the mechanisation of tasks that formerly required heavy lifting means people of different physiques can perform them safely. Tasks that require a trade-qualified operator are separated from tasks that do not, which has enabled the participation of people without trade qualifications or previous experience.

As a result, we were able to adapt our recruitment and assessment processes to reach a broader range of people from our local communities. We used information sessions and assessment centres to promote opportunities. Assessment focused on characteristics such as demonstrated behaviours and the ability to work in a team, rather than technical capabilities.

Our workforce is now 30 per cent women (up from five per cent in FY2016) and 10 per cent Indigenous as at 30 June 2017. We know that in addition to improving diversity, we must support inclusive workplaces. We focused on creating an inclusive culture through visible leadership, more face-to-face updates on performance and regular updates on any changes impacting the team. The strength of this approach is reflected in this year’s Mooka OCRS’s Employee Perception Survey results, which are higher than the BHP average, and above external norms for high performing companies.

The success at Mooka OCRS means it can also act as a talent incubator for other BHP assets. We’re continuing to build on our achievements through active promotion of our apprenticeship program to a diverse range of participants, working with communities to develop a more structured work experience program for high school students, and developing a cultural plan to continue to drive an inclusive workforce.