How To Kill Your Mining Career Dead!

With the current skills shortage in the mining industry it might be tempting to think that mining companies are so desperate to retain personnel that they'll overlook certain behaviours. Unfortunately, if that's your belief, you're in for a shock!

Mining is heavily regulated in many countries. For good reason. A mine site isn't the safest of work place environments at the best of times. Many mining companies are also on a 0% accident mission and therefore have a 0 tolerance policy for most misdemeanours. Especially those that can directly contribute to an accident. Mining companies are also typically intolerant of a few other things as well so if you want to keep your job it definitely pays to toe the line. 

Some of the strictest policies on mine sites are around drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately the stresses caused by a FIFO lifestyle can be such that resorting to either, or both, may be used as a coping mechanism. Not a wise move though on several fronts. First of all, booze and drugs come with considerable health risks. Secondly, failing drug and alcohol tests is often a sure fire way to lose your job, or at the very least face severe disciplinary action. Mine sites are simply not safe places for the inebriated, even mildly so, and/or people on drugs to be wandering around, much less operating mining equipment. By all means support the camp's wet mess but be sensible about it. All things in moderation….and it's good policy to be aware of your company's drug and alcohol policy. That way you won't be in for any rude shocks the morning after a heavy night.

PPE – it stands for personal protective equipment and it includes the word 'protective' for a reason. It's designed to protect your person. Mining companies don't generally spend a ton of money buying this gear because they like spending money for no good reason! And because it costs money, they like to think their staff will take good care of it. In addition to wearing / using it as and when required. Therefore misuse of PPE, including removing mandatory items of PPE clothing whilst on duty, not reporting damage to mine equipment, deliberately damaging or misusing PPE etc can come with the penalty of dismissal. Incidentally, doing other silly things that have the potential to cause a hazard, like smoking in non-smoking areas, could also find you on the end of a Don't come Monday notice.

Being late for work because you've missed your bus or train is a scenario many of us are familiar with. However, it takes on a whole new meaning for FIFO workers. After all, it's not as if another plane, train or bus going your way will be along in a few minutes! Once, or maybe twice, is unfortunate. If it starts to become a habit you may be asked to find yourself another job where missing 'public transport' is not such a problem for your employer.

Use it or lose it…. Many employees unfortunately have this mindset about sick leave. There is a reason it's called sick leave though. You're only supposed to use it when you're actually sick. Faking sickies to get out of work on a regular basis is not something many companies are inclined to tolerate for very long. And to be honest, if you've used up all your sick leave entitlement on sickies, and you do genuinely get sick, you've got no one but yourself to blame if your employer docks your pay whilst you're off work. Furthermore, if you do feel the need for constant sickies to avoid work then in all seriousness, perhaps you should be considering whether or not the job is the right one for you.

Harassment of any type in the workplace should not be tolerated by any employer, or by other employees either. Harassment comes in many forms, from bullying to sexual harassment. They're all highly offensive behaviours that can cause a great deal of trauma to victims. Most of these behaviours are also illegal in many countries. The definition of harassment has changed considerably over the decades. Where once sexual harassment may have been defined as making unwelcome advances to another person, today it equally includes any type of sexual behaviour that offends, intimidates, or humiliates another person. Even remarks that may be considered harmless, amusing fun to the person making them can be interpreted as sexual harassment to the person on the receiving end. People have lost their jobs for less. If in doubt, don't spout.

If you like robbing banks, indulging in the odd bit of fraud, assaulting others, and doing similar criminal activities in your spare time, or defrauding your employer on company time, chances are you won't last long in your job when your extra curricular activities become known to them. Most employers don't particularly want criminals on the payroll.

Social media – it's the bane of many an employee's life because employers can, and do, keep tabs on what their employees are up to on social media. So you may well live to regret the derogatory comments you made about the company on Facebook, or the photos you posted on Instagram. Like the underground miners who took off their shirts to perform the Harlem Shake and posted the now infamous video on social media undoubtedly did.

But employers don't have it all their own way. Most developed countries with a healthy mining industry have government bodies that provide recourse for employees who believe they've been dismissed unfairly. These organisations generally have the authority to overturn dismissals if they feel the company has acted unfairly in dismissing the employee. Or make the company pay compensation. However, many cases are upheld, particularly when there have been clear breaches of important rules and regulations. That's why it's best to simply not take any chances. Know what you can and can't do, and stay within those limits if you want to keep your career in the mining industry.

​Mining Professionals And The Thorny Issue Of Relo...
Ahh FIFO Rosters……….!


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Tuesday, 07 July 2020
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