Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Deputy Premier; Minister for Health; Medical Research; State Development, Jobs and Trade; Science

    Report calls for action to improve mental health and wellbeing in FIFO workers

    5/12/2018 10:00 AM
    • New research report released today encourages employers to improve the mental health and wellbeing of fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers
    • Report finds FIFO workers experience higher levels of psychological distress and workplace bullying than non-FIFO workers 

    A new research report to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of FIFO workers has found a third, 33 per cent, experience high levels of psychological distress compared to only 17 per cent of non-FIFO workers.


    The research report, Impact of FIFO work arrangements on the mental health and wellbeing of FIFO workers, was funded by the McGowan Government and is one of the most comprehensive FIFO research studies undertaken in Australia.


    More than 3,000 FIFO workers and their families participated in the research which was also driven in partnership with industry, unions and researchers from Curtin University's Centre of Transformative Work Design.


    Along with higher levels of psychological distress, the research found FIFO workers also suffer more incidents of workplace bullying and higher levels of burnout than non-FIFO workers. 


    The report found many FIFO workers already use a wide range of positive strategies to manage their mental health including maintaining regular communication with family and friends while on-site, and seeking mental health support when needed.


    There are 18 recommendations from the report, including rosters and shift patterns that provide better rest time, permanent rooms at accommodation sites and building local community connections.


    The McGowan Government is urging the mining and construction industry, unions and individuals to implement the recommendations.


    The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety is also currently drafting a code of practice for mentally healthy workplaces for FIFO workers in the resources and construction sectors in Western Australia. It is anticipated the code will reflect the outcomes of the research.


    For a full copy of the report, visit http://www.mhc.wa.gov.au


    Comments attributed to Mental Health Minister Roger Cook:


    "This research was undertaken in response to calls from family members and recommendations from the Education and Health Standing Committee inquiry into FIFO work arrangements. The inquiry was initiated due to reports of a number of deaths by suicide by FIFO workers.


    "The McGowan Government listened to families and the wider community, and agreed that more needed to be done, which is why we commissioned this research.


    "We hope the industry, unions and FIFO workers themselves will adopt the report recommendations, on site, and at home, to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of all FIFO workers, and their families."


    Minister's office - 6552 6500