The Western Australian government recently finalized and launched a code of practice to put fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers mental wellbeing first.
The first in Australia, the code provides guidelines to promote and maintain a mentally healthy workplace. It encourages organisations to provide an environment that promotes good health and wellbeing by implementing a risk management process to identify and avoid psychosocial hazards; establishing a positive and supportive workplace culture; developing response strategies (intervention) for workers; providing an environment that supports recovery; and providing suitable accommodation and rosters with sufficient time for rest and recreation.
The code applies to workplaces in Western Australia that utilise FIFO work arrangements, including resources operations engaged in activities such as exploration, construction, mining or processing, or support such activities and other construction work not related to resources operations.
Industrial Relations Minister, Bill Johnston said that the code “identifies a number of potential hazards and risk factors, such as work demands and low levels of control, and it promotes strategies to deal with these issues.”
In a study by Curtin University, 1 in 3 FIFO workers were found to experience high levels of psychological distress. After a number of WA FIFO worker suicides, the code Mentally healthy workplaces for fly-in fly-out workers in the resources and construction sectors was one of the recommendations presented following a parliamentary inquiry.
After extensive public consultation, the code is finally in place to address the hazards and risks in FIFO workplaces.
Minister Johnston declared that the State Government was committed to “driving change in mental health and improving the wellbeing of FIFO workers and their families.”
“A positive, mentally healthy workplace not only benefits employees but also enhances an organisation’s reputation for supporting and respecting its workforce.”
To view the code, visit http://www.dmp.wa.gov.au/Safety/Codes-of-practice-16145.aspx.