BHP’s fly-in-fly-out Pilbara workers have been banned from going into town to reduce the chance of spreading the coronavirus. FIFO workers in BHP camps, who have been granted essential worker status, have been told not to travel into Newman and Port Hedland. Both Newman and Port Hedland have significant Aboriginal populations. Indigenous people are considered to be at high risk from COVID-19. BHP said to date none of the company’s contractors or employees, either those based in the Pilbara or flying in, have tested positive to coronavirus. The miner’s new policy was revealed in its response to questions from The West Australian about whether BHP would consider housing FIFO workers in the hundreds of empty houses it owns in the Newman township to avoid unnecessary travel. The miner does have some workers in Newman residential housing and the policy only applies to FIFO. “We are currently managing our workforce within the camps and accommodation options as usual,” a BHP spokeswoman said. “At this stage there are no plans to change this. Additionally, for the health and safety of the Newman and surrounding communities our FIFO workforce are not currently permitted to travel into the Newman township. “None of our contractors or employees in the Pilbara, or those that FIFO to the Pilbara, have tested positive to COVID-19 but this is an additional measure we are implementing with the health and safety of our workforce and the Newman and surrounding communities as our first priority.”The West Australian understands the policy also applies to BHP’s Port Hedland operations. BHP has also introduced temperatures checks on workers before getting onto BHP-operated planes and buses, reduced the number of people on mine sites and made changes to accommodation camps, like shutting down some communal areas and extending dining hall hours to stagger eating times. Some tug boat pilots who live in Tasmania have been moved to WA, with their families, to comply with cross-border restrictions.