Mental Health Code of Practice must be more comprehensive after report reveals FIFO workers' distress levels double

Greens spokesperson for Mental Health Hon Alison Xamon MLC has today called for urgent action to address the mental health of FIFO workers following the latest report from the Mental Health Commission, which has found one third of FIFO workers experience high or very high levels of distress.  

Ms Xamon said the report’s findings were deeply disturbing, with distress levels among this group of workers, double that of a benchmark group.

“The evidence is now undeniable – current practices in parts of the mining industry present an unacceptable risk to workers,” she said.

“When you consider that almost 10% of WA’s population is directly involved in mining – and as the industry ramps up again that proportion is likely to increase – this is a huge issue for our community and one that we must take steps to address now.

“The report offers a number of evidence-based, actionable recommendations to mitigate instances of illness, prevent harm and promote thriving.

“We need to be doing more to prepare workers and their families before they begin FIFO, to prevent mental health problems occurring in the first place.

“We also need to address the issues of rosters and ensure rosters that promote wellbeing become the industry norm.” 

Ms Xamon said the report showed how important having supportive managers and co-workers is for how quickly someone recovers from a mental health issue.

She said training in mental health literacy was key.

“The Government’s Code of Practice needs to take heed of this report and provide a comprehensive guide for managers on sites,” Ms Xamon said.

“Earlier versions of the Code were lacking in any real instruction for managers and failed to provide nearly enough detail to improve conditions for workers and their families.”