FIFO: short shifts better
A former union official-turned State MP is urging the resources industry to adopt equal-time rosters in the wake of another report into mental health issues facing fly-in, fly-out workforces.
Among 18 recommendations was a call to implement even-time or shorter roster schedules, after data showed psychological stress was more prevalent among those on longer swings.
The Labor Member for Mining and Pastoral Kyle McGinn said Gold Fields Australia’s recent move to highlight family-friendly rosters at the Gruyere project was a good example of industry getting on the front foot.
“That is what we are after — industry making decisions themselves and going out there and spruiking it to the public,” he said.
“Companies with equal-time rosters and family-friendly rosters should be vocal about it. I believe there is a critical role to play in industry leading the way without being forced.”
Mr McGinn said while industry had made strides in collaborating to cut costs, coming together to improve mental health could still use work.
The release of the latest report comes three years after the WA Government tabled its last probe into the mental health of FIFO workers.
In June 2015, a report presented to the former State Government carried 30 recommendations. These included encouragement of family-friendly rosters, development of a database to monitor reportable deaths and that all suicides and attempted suicides be reported.
Half of the recommendations were supported but none were implemented by the former government.
Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA chief executive Paul Everingham said industry had taken the lead on implementing recommendations it could address.
“(The research) looked at a variety of interacting factors and found a range of factors related to the workplace, individual and external environment, were significant in influencing mental health outcomes,” he said.
The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety is drafting a code of practice reflecting outcomes from the latest report for mentally healthy workplaces for FIFO workers.