Act on re­port: FIFO par­ent

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - News -

PETER Miller says the rec­om­men­da­tions of a WA par­lia­men­tary in­quiry into the men­tal health of fly-in fly-out (FIFO) work­ers need to be im­ple­mented as soon as pos­si­ble.

For two years, Mr Miller and his wife Anita have been plagued with thoughts sur­round­ing the sui­cide of their son Rhys Con­nor (25) at a mine camp site in the Pil­bara.

Their jour­ney to find an­swers about how a happy and well­liked young man could sud­denly slip into de­pres­sion and sub­se­quently take his life, led them to look closely at the FIFO in­dus­try and how it af­fects the men­tal well­be­ing of its work­ers.

They also crit­i­cised how Rhys’ death was han­dled, which in­cluded not be­ing told that he was dead un­til 12 hours af­ter his body was dis­cov­ered on site.

Rhys’ story, along with a spate of WA FIFO worker sui­cides, prompted the 10-month par­lia­men­tary in­quiry.

The Ed­u­ca­tion and Health Stand­ing Com­mit­tee tabled its re­port, The im­pact of FIFO Work Prac­tices on Men­tal Health, on June 18. Mr Miller said the find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions of the re­port were crit­i­cal to un­der­stand­ing the im­pact of FIFO work prac­tices on men­tal health.

“I felt the par­lia­ment-ap­pointed com­mit­tee have done a highly pro­fes­sional job in de­liv­er­ing a true, un­bi­ased re­port on their find­ings,” he said.

“The rec­om­men­da­tion to the Min­is­ter for Mines and Petroleum to in­tro­duce a code of prac­tice for the FIFO in­dus­try is by far the most im­por­tant rec­om­men­da­tion to me.

“It is im­por­tant the code of prac­tice is in­stalled as soon as pos­si­ble, for deaths are still oc­cur­ring now and it will start sav­ing lives.”

Mr Miller said an im­por­tant rec­om­men­da­tion he would sug­gest is that the in­dus­try is re­quired to have poli­cies and pro­ce­dures in place to man­age a sui­cide or an at­tempted sui­cide on their site, which is to in­clude the ac­com­mo­da­tion camp.

“In our case when our son sui­cided there wasn’t one,” he said.

“It was not in­ves­ti­gated, be­cause he died in a camp – not on the mine site – and it was not re­quired to be re­ported to the Min­is­ter for Mines.”

If you have feel­ings of sui­cide, con­tact Life­line on 13 11 14.

Work­ing away can have se­ri­ous ef­fects on men­tal health.

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