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COVID-19

Maintaining healthy people and operations

Like most global businesses, BHP is being affected by the Coronavirus (COVID - 19). As always, the safety of our people comes before anything else. We have regional teams of specialists monitoring the situation around the clock to ensure the wellbeing of our employees and the safe continuity of our operations.

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Wellbeing resources

Mental health and wellbeing at BHP

We continue to be concerned about the spread and impact of COVID-19 globally. We recognise the added pressure, and increased stress and anxiety that this has presented at work and in our daily lives. We’ve updated our resources in a practical way to help our employees, contractors and their families through this difficult period.

Keeping our people informed

We have been updating our employees on the virus and the steps they should be taking to minimise the possibility of contracting and spreading the virus.

Some of that information is featured below:

Symptoms

 The illness is still being studied. Common symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Other less common symptoms of COVID-19 include muscle aches, headache, nausea and diarrhoea. In most people the symptoms are mild to moderate and recovery can be within a few days to a couple of weeks. In China, far fewer children (as a percentage) were detected with the disease and when they did, their symptoms were generally milder. It is capable of causing severe illness, and some infected people have died. It is possible that people with underlying health conditions are at higher risk for severe disease.

How does COVID-19 spread?

 Authorities are continuing to investigate the source of the infection and how this new coronavirus spreads. Transmission is possibly happening via two routes:

  • Environment-to-human: preliminary information suggests that the novel coronavirus is zoonotic, or transmitted from an animal source to humans. The initial cluster of cases appeared to have a common source of exposure - a local live seafood and animal market.
  • Human-to-human: from a sick person to others who are in close contact. In general, coronaviruses spread through infected respiratory droplets, just like other respiratory infections, including colds and influenza. A sick person expels these droplets when they cough, sneeze, or talk. Others can get the disease via contact (direct or indirect) with these contaminated droplets.

Protection

 We urge everyone to avoid potential exposure and practice good hygiene measures.

Keep some distance from people who are obviously sick. Maintain good personal hygiene including:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Carry hand sanitiser for use when soap and water are not readily available. Some authorities are advising hand sanitisers containing 60-85% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Please avoid shaking hands, kissing people and other personal contact.

The steps we've taken as a business

  • Set-up a Crisis Management Team, led by CEO Mike Henry.
  • Activated regional Emergency Management teams.
  • Provided regular updates that are specific to each of our assets and offices.
  • Published health and hygiene guidelines.
  • Provided additional resources such as hand sanitiser and cleaning equipment.
  • Implemented social distancing guidelines.

Business continuity

We have specific Business Continuity Plans (BCP) in place for each of our sites, functional teams and offices. They contain important practical guidance and measures on how to protect your health and safety should COVID-19 cause a direct impact. They help us identify and prevent risks as they arise, and respond to and recover from them quickly.

The current severity of the pandemic varies geographically. As a global company with over 72,000, it is vital that we have teams monitoring different regions and making asset-specific decisions. We have set-up regional emergency management teams.

Global updates

Keep track of our global updates on our approach to the unfolding COVID-19 crisis.

  • 7 May 2020 - Q&A session for partners and families of BHP
    Mike Henry, Chief Executive Officer, and Rob Telford, Group Health, Safety and Environment Officer held an online question and answer session for the partners and families of BHP.

  • 30 April 2020 - BHP's shareholder Q&A with Mike Henry, CEO

    On Thursday 30 April, 2020, our Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry, held a shareholder question and answer session via webcast. He provided an update on how we’re tracking during these uncertain times and answers questions from shareholders.

     

  • 24 March 2020 - Shareholder update

    Today, as we paid US$3.3 billion in dividends to shareholders for the half year ending 31 December 2019, our Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry updated shareholders on what we’re doing to keep our people safe and our mines and other operations running. He also touched on the underlying strength of our company, and what’s happening in our markets.

     

  • 16 March 2020 - General update

    As COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to spread globally we are to taking precautionary measures to reduce the spread of transmission. We will do all that we can to ensure the health and safety of our people and ensure our operations are running safely.

    • Travel - Today we've suspended international travel for all BHP employees globally for work alongside other measures already in place. This is in line with new advice from many governments and health experts from around the world.
    • Sites and Offices - Each of our sites and offices across the world are monitoring the situation and have action plans which we will activate if required, in line with advice from health authorities. We also have procedures in place to move quickly to isolate anyone who may require medical treatment or testing.
    • Health and Wellbeing – We continue to communicate with our workforce to follow hygiene, travel and quarantine recommendations from country-specific health authorities and governments. We know that the situation may be stressful for some of our people, their loved ones and their communities. We are encouraging all of our teams to support each through this difficult time, talk to their line-leaders about specific concerns and access our Employee Assistance program if they feel they need extra support.
  • 13 March 2020 - General update
    BHP will prioritise the health and wellbeing of our workforce. We have procedures in place to move quickly to isolate anyone who may require medical treatment or testing. We are also working hard to implement plans and procedures that keep our entire workforce operating safely through this uncertain period.

    We continue to monitor the situation and manage our workforce based on advice from country-specific health authorities and governments.

    We have put restrictions in place for all non-essential international business travel and we continue to communicate with our workforce to follow hygiene, travel and quarantine recommendations from country-specific health authorities and governments.

    We are reviewing and testing Business Continuity Plans at our operations and corporate offices to prepare for the spread of COVID-19.

    At this point in time there are no impacts to production based on COVID-19.
  • 13 March 2020 - A message from Mike Henry, CEO
    Keeping our people safe

    BHP will prioritise the health and wellbeing of our workforce. We have procedures in place to move quickly to isolate anyone who may require medical treatment or testing. We are also working hard to implement plans and procedures that keep our entire workforce operating safely through this uncertain period.

    The resilience of our business

    We have engineered a business that is resilient with a strong balance sheet, strong assets and low cost operations that can generate cash through the cycle. This will allow us to continue to contribute to the economy at a time when it is needed most.

    Demand for our products

    While the impacts of the coronavirus crisis on the global economy are still playing out, buying interest for our products has remained healthy, and with the exception of oil, which has come off quite sharply in recent days, commodity prices have held up reasonably well. We are resilient should prices move lower.

    Australian government $17.6 billion stimulus package

    We welcome the calm and methodical approach being taken by the Australian Government during this extremely challenging time. Moves to stimulate the economy, support small business and provide an additional safety net for the vulnerable in our community is the right thing to do. We note the Opposition’s offer of constructive bipartisanship. It is vital the Parliament and the country work together and quickly to respond to what confronts us all.

    Clearly, the coming weeks and months will challenge the Australian economy and the resolve of all Australians. BHP plans to employ 1000 new apprentices and trainees each year over the next five years. We stand willing to work together with the Government to continue to implement these plans and provide skills and training for Australians.

Minerals Australia updates

  • 23 March 2020 - COVID-19 update for BHP Australia contracting partners

    The health and safety of all employees and our contracting partners is BHP’s number one priority.

    In line with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s latest announcement regarding measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) into Australia, the following communication is provided to our contracting partners.

     

  • 23 March 2020 - BHP establishes AUD$50 million Vital Resources Fund

    BHP will establish a $50 million (AUD) Vital Resources Fund to help support regional Australian communities in its areas of operation, which are facing the significant challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

     

  • 20 March 2020 - BHP will hire 1500 additional people to support its workforce
    BHP announced today it will hire 1,500 additional people to support its workforce operating across Australia.

    The 1,500 jobs will be offered as six-month contracts and cover a range of skills needed by BHP operations in the short term. These jobs will support and bolster our existing workforce during this difficult time.

    The roles will include machinery and production operators, truck and ancillary equipment drivers, excavator operators, diesel mechanics boilermakers, trades assistants, electricians, cleaners and warehousing roles across our coal, iron ore and copper operations in WA, QLD, NSW and SA. The jobs will be offered through existing labour hire partners and BHP contracts in each state.

    Following the initial six-month contract, BHP will look to offer permanent roles for some of these jobs. BHP will continue to assess this program and may increase the number of jobs available.

    BHP Acting Minerals Australia President Edgar Basto said supporting our people, communities and partners, safely, is the highest priority.

    “As part of BHP’s social distancing measures we are introducing more small teams with critical skills to work dynamically across different shifts,” he said.

    “The Government has said that resources industry is vital in Australia’s response to the global pandemic. We are stepping up and providing jobs and contracts. Our suppliers, large and small, play a critical role in supporting our operations. It is a tough time for our communities and the economy. We must look out for each other as we manage through this together.”
  • 19 March 2020 - BHP increases support for local business and contract labour hire

    BHP will reduce payment terms for small, local and Indigenous businesses as part of a program to support its communities and regional economies during the Covid-19 pandemic.

     

Samarco updates

Samarco, our joint venture in Brazil, is donating BRL 1 million in products and equipment for health professionals at the frontline of the fight against Covid-19 in cities near its sites in Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo states. Gloves, masks, protective glasses, sanitiser, infrared thermometers and rapid tests for Covid-19 are among the items that will be purchased directly by Samarco and delivered to city halls.

A Samarco vai doar R$ 1 milhão em produtos e equipamentos para profissionais de saúde que estão na linha de frente da luta contra a Covid-19 em cidades próximas às operações em Minas Gerais e no Espírito Santo. Luvas, máscaras, óculos de proteção, álcool 70%, termômetros com infravermelho e testes rápidos para a Covid-19 estão entre os itens que serão adquiridos diretamente pela Samarco e entregues às prefeituras.