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Fly in fly out – Flying off the handle

Fly in fly out – Flying off the handle (Last Updated On: August 6, 2014)

Fly in fly out (FIFO) workers have it tough, separated from their family and friends for long periods, long work hours with little respite and the personal mental endeavour to survive each swing.

In recent months there has been a horrible increase in the link of FIFO workers and suicide at many mining and construction sites across Australia. Barrow Island off the Pilbara coast of Western Australia is home to more than 6000 workers at one time. They work and sleep in close quarters and have to follow strict health and safety regulations at all times. At least eight FIFO workers have committed suicide in the past 12 months in the Pilbara region*.

Workers face unique challenges and pressures with the FIFO lifestyle. Routines, household structure, maintaining communication with family and personal fulfilment are all compromised when they land on site ready to combat the next 4 weeks of round-the-clock work.

Depression and suicide go hand in hand and some have a view that the issue lies within the individual and is not caused by the organisation that employs. However employers of FIFO staff need to implement change in order to prevent deaths caused by mental illness.

Some suggested ways include:
– Support mental health initiatives, for example Are You OK Day;
– Provide an environment where employees can easily access and feel free to discuss mental issues;
– Communicate that you as the employer are aware of mental health of staff and you are actively implementing change to help and improve the well-being of your staff;
– Onsite personnel and councillors to look out for those in need.

Employsure helps employers to manage their staff’ well-being. We can guide you through the implementation of policies and procedures which can support the effects of mental illness. Some examples are leave entitlements, grievance procedures and safeguards and access to support services. By having the correct procedures in place we can help nurture your working environment to better prevent mental illness from work related stress.

If you would like to review your current workplace practices call Employsure today on 1300 651 415 or fill out the form below.

*Information sourced via The Australian Mining website and Perth Now News.

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