FIFO Wellbeing a Priority

CME said today the resources sector would make a detailed submission to the State Parliamentary Inquiry into mental health and Fly In- Fly Out employees.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) said today the resources sector would make a detailed submission to the State Parliamentary Inquiry into mental health and Fly In- Fly Out (FIFO) employees.

“Every suicide is a tragic loss with far-reaching impacts.  As a community we must all work together to reduce the prevalence of suicide across Western Australian society,” said CME Chief Executive Reg Howard-Smith.

“Despite some recent assertions that there may be a higher occurrence of mental health issues associated with FIFO employment, research is yet to find any substantial evidence in support of such claims,” said Mr Howard-Smith.

The extensive Commonwealth Parliamentary Inquiry into FIFO practices received no evidence that supported a claim that mental health issues were any higher in the FIFO worker population than in the wider workforce.  The Inquiry ran for 18 months, received hundreds of submissions, visited numerous sites and held dozens of public hearings.

In recent years, we’ve seen a greater variety in FIFO rosters available, dramatic improvements in accommodation quality and facilities available.  Additionally companies recognise employee wellbeing is important, with most companies providing support groups and employee assistance programs to help new employees adjust to FIFO lifestyle.  These can include family visits to site, buddy systems, free counselling, group activities and in-room internet to communicate with partners and family.

“The majority of mining companies also provide counselling services and promote awareness of wellbeing issues via their fit for work and health promotion programmes,” said Mr Howard-Smith.

CME Chief Executive, Reg Howard-Smith said some in the community sought to stigmatise FIFO employees and perpetuate myths associated with FIFO, despite a growing bank of research which highlights FIFO employees share the same health and lifestyle outlook as other Western Australians.

“Put simply, it’s a matter of choice for employees – a choice about where they live and where they choose to work” said Mr Howard-Smith.