FIFO: short shifts bet­ter

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

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