UnionsWA has today commented on the release of research commissioned by the WA Government on the health impacts of Fly-in Fly-out work. The research report can be viewed online here.
Owen Whittle, Assistant Secretary, UnionsWA said:
“This research is world-class and is the most comprehensive research ever in Australia on the health impacts of FIFO work.
“While the resources sector in WA is often claimed to be a world leader, what this research shows is that its wealth is built on the poor mental health of FIFO workers.
“The study found that a third of FIFO workers suffer high or very high levels of psychological distress.
“This psychological distress rate is almost double the workforce average.
“In the face of suicides and poor mental health it is not enough for our resource corporation to offer band-aids after the fact, change must aim at prevention.
“One of the major, preventable factors contributing to poor metal health are the inhumane rosters that frequently have FIFO workers on site for 28 consecutive days before having a break and those breaks include long hours of flying to and from remote sites.
Ray talks about the impact of FIFO work.
“The standard for accommodation is often poor, including motelling that mean workers have to share different accommodation across shifts, in doing so denying them a place to live while working that they might build to make their own.
“Of course, the poor mental health of FIFO workers also takes a real toll on their partners, children, other family and friends.
“It has been a choice of the resources industry to shift towards greater levels of a FIFO work and we can no longer ignore that urgent action is needed to address the psychological health impact of this work
“All West Australians are poorer for these bad practices by large corporations can afford to moderate.
“Reducing FIFO work overall would help build jobs for locals in regional WA, including among Aboriginal West Australians.”