In July 2019, Rio Tinto and UGL Limited donated $12,400 towards mental health and suicide prevention in the Gladstone region, after delivering a strong shutdown safety performance at the Rio Tinto Yarwun refinery.
In the lead up to the major maintenance shutdown in the Digestion area of the refinery, contractor UGL Limited (a member of the CIMIC Group) proposed the two groups provide an incentive for a safe shut that would also benefit the Gladstone community. This was that for every safe day of the shutdown, Rio Tinto and UGL Limited each would pledge $100 to Project We Care, the Gladstone Port Curtis Rotary Club’s mental health and suicide prevention initiative.
As a result, Rio Tinto and UGL Limited presented a $12,400 cheque to Project We Care’s Director of Special Projects, John Witten, at the Yarwun refinery after the safe delivery of the project.
Rio Tinto Yarwun General Manager Mark Gilmore said the presentation was a good chance to gather the team and share advice and insights into how we can look after our own mental health and support friends and colleagues.
“Looking after each other’s safety and mental wellbeing is vital. We are grateful John was able to share his insights with us in the week of RUOK? Day,” Mark said.
A day was considered a ‘safe day’ on the shutdown when no lost time injury occurred, meaning all employees were able to return to work the following shift. All days on the shutdown were safe days, reflecting the commitment and professionalism of the teams.
Shutdowns are major, planned maintenance activities. In the Digestion area, where alumina contained in bauxite is dissolved as part of of the refining process, shutdowns occur once a year.
The two-month shutdown began on 15 July and involved Rio Tinto Yarwun employees and more than 300 UGL Limited contractors working together on the essential maintenance.
“The link between fatigue, safety and mental health is clear, which is why we give our leaders the tools to understand the practical steps they can take to take care of their mental health and wellbeing,” Mark said.
“Safety is at the forefront of everything we do and this extends to the mental health of our employees and contracting partners, making this initiative an excellent opportunity to promote just that.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for support.