Act on report: FIFO parent
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.