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Mining giant commends ‘brave’ FIFO worker for criticising unsafe conditions

BHP FIFO workers
File photo of FIFO workers

A resources multinational honoured a remote employee who reported a substandard work environment.

BHP recently commended a female team member who complained about unsafe conditions at a Newman mine camp.

“It takes courage and bravery to relive traumatic experiences,” a spokesperson said according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The employer promised to assist anyone who reports misconduct no matter how high-ranking the accused might be.

“We continue to support the impacted person. We are also ensuring that support is available to any of our people who need it,” the spokesperson told the broadcaster.

“We are committed to creating a culture that is safe, inclusive and respectful at all times.”

The remarks came shortly after the WA District Court sentenced Ryan John Zabaznow to five years in jail, for sexually penetrating his female fly-in fly-out (FIFO) colleague without consent back on 18 November 2020.

“You made a deliberate decision to take advantage of her for your own sexual gratification,” judge Linda Petrusa said in court according to the Australian Associated Press.

Petrusa rejected Zabaznow’s claims that social media messages show their intimacy was consensual, everything was “all good” and he was “not a c–t”.

The jury heard the woman drank 15 mid-strength beers, vomited and passed out in a donga before being attacked. Zabaznow was eventually dismissed after an internal review during late 2020.

“Whilst it is true you did not use any violence you did not have to. She was sleeping the sleep of the inebriated when you started. Although she woke the fear and/or shock paralysed her, and force was not necessary,” the judge said according to the newswire agency.

The victim who still remains anonymous was relieved to hear Zabaznow would be jailed, and state parliament launched an inquiry into FIFO sexual harassment.

“It was my voice that spoke for fellow FIFO workers within the industry that felt ashamed alone and too scared to come forward at the time,” she said at a press conference.

Zabaznow could be eligible for parole after three years.

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