New research finds a third of FIFO workers experience high levels of psychological distress

Fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers experience high levels of psychological distress compared to non-FIFO workers, a new report has found.

The report found a third, 33 per cent of FIFO workers, 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 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 funded by the WA government and driven in partnership with industry, unions, and researchers from Curtin University’s Centre of Transformative Work Design.

According to the report, 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.

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

“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,”  Mental Health Minister Roger Cook said.

“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.”

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

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