Dozens of workers failed to provide proof of their first inoculation to the mining giant.
Dozens of BHP workers have been stood down without pay for not providing evidence of their vaccination status.
The mining giant last month made full vaccination a condition of entry to its Australian sites and offices from January 31 while Wednesday was the deadline for the first jab.
Speaking to media after the mining giant’s annual general meeting on Thursday, chief executive Mike Henry did not specifically comment on reports that 50 workers at its Mt Arthur thermal coal mine in NSW’s Hunter Valley had been stood down.
But he said safety trumped all else.
“We all know the science supports this,” Mr Henry told reporters.
It’s understood less than 80 workers failed to provide proof of their first inoculation.
Under state government rules in Western Australia, where BHP has its flagship iron ore and Nickel West assets, all resources sector workers must be fully vaccinated by January 1 and have had their first jab by December 1.
Mr Henry said the rules were there to protect everyone and in WA, particularly remote Indigenous communities.
“The large majority of our employee base and contractor base understand that,” he said.
“And not only are they getting themselves vaccinated in line with broader community expectations, they know specifically in the case of the workplace that we have, that’s going to be important in order to keep their colleague safe and to ensure that BHP site doesn’t become the transmission zone into local communities.
“It’s still early to know the exact numbers but we’re confident that we’ll have the ability to operate the business and hopefully by the time of the deadline, there’s very few employees who have elected to not get double vaccinated.
“Of course in WA given there is a government requirement … that double reinforces the need for the vaccination.”
Originally published as Mining giant stands down workers who failed to show proof of meeting first jab deadline