The Australian Mining Review - - NEWS - RAY CHAN

The Aus­tralian Steel In­sti­tute (ASI) has called on the Gov­ern­ment to clas­sify the steel in­dus­try as es­sen­tial.

The peak in­dus­try body rep­re­sents the en­tire steel in­dus­try value chain, in­clud­ing ma­jor pro­ducer mem­bers BlueS­cope Steel, In­fraBuild Steel, Moly­cop and Bisal­loy, and says the in­dus­try must be kept op­er­a­tional in the event of se­vere lock­downs de­signed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

In a joint state­ment with the Aus­tralian Work­ers’ Union, the ASI said steel was a high cap­i­tal cost in­dus­try with low peo­ple den­sity and high value.

“The steel in­dus­try al­ready prac­tices very high stan­dards of hy­giene to pro­tect all em­ploy­ees from rou­tine work health and safety risks,” they said. “These prac­tices have been gal­vanised and heighted since the out­break of the COVID-19 pan­demic.”

Aus­tralian steel man­u­fac­tur­ers have al­ready in­tro­duced the fol­low­ing mea­sures to pro­tect their em­ploy­ees:

• Steel mills and other fa­cil­i­ties have in­tro­duced strict en­try pro­ce­dures, which in­clude screen­ing for COVID-19 ex­po­sure and check­ing the tem­per­a­tures of per­son­nel.

• Stricter than usual hy­giene pro­ce­dures, in­clud­ing height­ened, more fre­quent, and deeper clean­ing.

• Re­view of fa­cil­i­ties to en­sure so­cial dis­tanc­ing guide­lines are strictly ad­hered to, in­clud­ing main­tain­ing 1.5m be­tween em­ploy­ees at all times and the erad­i­ca­tion of over­lap­ping shifts.

• Travel bans for em­ploy­ees since March 1, 2020.

• Strin­gent re­turn to work pro­to­cols post-travel and where an em­ployee feels un­well, in­clud­ing selfiso­la­tion.

• In­tro­duc­tion of re­mote work­ing ar­range­ments for non-es­sen­tial em­ploy­ees.

• Height­ened com­mu­ni­ca­tions around all hy­giene mea­sures to help en­sure em­ployee, con­trac­tor and sup­plier com­pli­ance.

• Im­ple­men­ta­tion of de­tailed pro­ce­dures to man­age a COVID-19 ex­po­sure case.

The ASI and AWU said steel is a crit­i­cal in­put across myr­iad as­pects of Aus­tralia’s so­ci­ety and econ­omy, from res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial con­struc­tion, through to min­ing.

“All these es­sen­tial down­stream and re­lated in­dus­tries rely on steel to func­tion,” they said. “If one part of an in­dus­trial sup­ply chain is closed, this will lead to the clo­sure of other in­dus­tries and com­pa­nies in a domino-ef­fect.”

Steel is a crit­i­cal in­put across myr­iad as­pects of Aus­tralia’s so­ci­ety and econ­omy.

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