FIFO workers want action on mental health in mining industry


FIFO workers want action on mental health in mining industry

Written by Jamie Freestone for Perth Now - 5th December 2018

FIFO workers want action not talk on the findings of a report into the mental health of workers in the mining industry.
The report found one third of Fly In, Fly Out workers experienced psychological distress. More than 4000 past and present FIFO workers and their families took part in the study aimed at improving the wellbeing of workers in the industry.
Peter Miller has been campaigning to stop FIFO suicides since his son Rhys Connor took his own life at a Pilbara mine site camp five years ago. “We can all make a difference,” Mr Miller said. “We can all save a life by listening, and being kind and compassionate to each other.”

The report found FIFO workers are more at risk with one third experiencing psychological distress, that is double the rate of non-FIFO workers. “FIFO workers have greater psychological distress, have poorer well being, have more suicidal thoughts, have poorer sleep quality,” Curtin University Professor Sharon Parker, who led the research, said.

The report came up with 18 recommendations — developing a culture that prioritises mental health is at the top of the list.
Changes to rosters and shifts as well as building community and social connections for FIFO workers are also concerns.

Chamber of Minerals and Energy chief executive Paul Everingham said the industry was continuously seek to improve. “Our employees want to work in mining and we want them to keep working in mining and as a result, we will continuously seek to improve,” Mr Everingham said.

The WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety is putting together a code of conduct for the resources and construction industries, which the Government hopes will improve mental health for FIFO workers.