Report Into Impact of FIFO and Mental Health

CME will examine the Education and Health Standing Committee’s report into the impact of FIFO work practices on mental health in detail.

 

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) will examine the Education and Health Standing Committee’s report into the impact of Fly In-Fly Out (FIFO) work practices on mental health in detail.

CME Chief Executive Reg Howard-Smith said the Committee’s report was an opportunity to increase awareness and understanding of the complex issue of mental health and suicide prevention.

“Mental health and wellbeing is a broad issue affecting many in the Western Australian community, making responsibility for mental health issues a shared one – for individuals, government, community and industry,” said Mr Howard-Smith.

Resources companies have long recognised the importance of employee wellbeing, with supports such as employee assistance programs common across industry. Additionally companies undertake a wide range of workplace and community wellbeing initiatives to facilitate access to support and break down stigma of mental health issues as well as programs designed to help employees adjust to FIFO.

Over the past decade there has been a dramatic improvement in the conditions, rosters and facilities available on site for FIFO employees.

“Independent research has highlighted the majority of resources companies provide counselling services and promote awareness of wellbeing issues via their fit for work and health promotion programmes,” said Mr Howard-Smith.

Safety and health legislation relevant to workplaces in Western Australia currently covers both physical and psychological aspects of employee wellbeing under general and specific duties placed on employers and employees.

As noted by the Committee there are already many codes of practice and guidelines in place to assist companies manage risks to health and safety across the resources sector including; Working Hours Code of Practice; Prevention and Management of Violence, Aggression and Bullying Code of Practice, Safe Design of Buildings and Structures Code of Practice; and General Duty of Care guidelines for both mines and petroleum.

“The resources sector puts the safety and health of employees first and foremost and supports the use of robust and peer-reviewed research to inform continuous improvement efforts and ensure evidence based policy decisions prevail,” said Mr Howard-Smith.

“Industry would urge the Government when considering its response to recommendations to focus on quality research and data, rather than on anecdotal and emotive evidence,” said Mr Howard-Smith.

“At the end of the day, it’s important for us all to remember that FIFO remains a matter of choice for employees – a choice about where they live and where they choose to work” said Mr Howard-Smith.