Positive mental health important during COVID-19

Glencore has proactively ramped up its response to COVID-19 with our key priority protecting the health and well-being of our workforce and the communities where we operate.

In early April, in line with Federal and State Government mandated requirements, Glencore introduced remote working arrangements for employees whose roles could be moved off site. While production continues across our North Queensland operations, limiting the number of people on site will help lower the risk of virus transmission among the workforce.

Glencore's North Queensland Metals General Manager for Health, Safety, Environment and Community, Maryann Wipaki, says the transition to remote working arrangements has been relatively seamless.

"We are really proud of the effort and way our employees have embraced these changes," says Maryann.

While we were in unchartered territory with the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic, Maryann says it is important Glencore's workforce maintains good mental health in these challenging times.

"We've been ensuring communication channels are open, whether they are working remotely or in critical onsite roles, about ways to manage their mental health and well-being," Maryann says.

"With the introduction of social distancing, we know most people are spending more time at home without their regular social activities and this can lead to increased anxiety and a sense of isolation."

"We are ensuring all employees are well supported and encouraging them to stay connected with their friends, family and colleagues via email, video conference or telephone."

"There are some key things that can be done to help maintain perspective, like finding a healthy balance in relation to the media coverage of COVID-19 and staying informed via trusted sources.

"It is important to remember this is a temporary period of isolation to slow the spread of the virus and our employee's efforts are helping us to achieve this."

All Glencore employees have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help in times of need and is provided to assist employees as well as their families to help identify, clarify and resolve personal issues and overcome challenges.

Confidential counselling is provided by psychologists and counsellors who are experienced in assisting individuals with a range of concerns from managing depression, anxiety and stress to conflict resolution and managing relationship issues.

Counselling is now offered via confidential SMS / text message in addition to existing face to face and telephone services.

"We encourage all Glencore employees to access this confidential service if they feel it could assist them," says Maryann.

The Australian and Queensland Governments have recognised the resources sector is essential in maintaining a strong Australian economy and Glencore is focusing on operating safely and responsibly, while maintaining production.

Glencore will continue to engage with our workforce and the community as we implement appropriate controls to assist with the prevention and further transmission of COVID-19.

Additional COVID-19 controls

Where we rely on and have a range of site critical roles, we have put in place additional measures to protect those employees.

These include:

  • Temperature testing across all sites
  • Enforcing onsite social distancing requirements where reasonably practical with staggered shift start and crib times and smaller groups travelling in confined space areas such as buses, light vehicles and cages
  • Ensuring appropriate Personal Protective Equipment is used
  • Restricting visitors to our operations
  • Stepping up the cleaning and sanitising of our work places
  • Restricting business travel
  • Increasing the use of video conferencing facilities in place of face to face meetings
  • Developing and implementing a Communicable Diseases Plan with quarantine and isolation procedures for our operations
  • Implementing a communication campaign to ensure everyone is doing their part in ensuring a safe and hygienic work environment.