Recommendations on FIFO mental health must be implemented immediately

Recommendations on FIFO mental health must be implemented immediately

Friday 19 June 2015

Recommendations made by the Parliamentary Inquiry into the impact of FIFO work practices on mental health should be implemented as soon as possible, AMA (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon said today.


“The AMA (WA) is aware of the correlation between the FIFO lifestyle and poor mental health outcomes, and made note of this as far back as 2011,” Dr Gannon said.


“The Committee has made it very clear that FIFO can increase the risk of mental health issues, and we need to address this urgently.


“At least 100,000 West Australians are impacted both directly and indirectly by the FIFO lifestyle, so this is an issue that can no longer be ignored.


“We applaud the Committee’s recommended changes to legislation to ensure workplace health and safety requirements apply to workers in both FIFO accommodation and while working their shifts.


“We also concur with the Committee’s recommendation that the Minister for Mental Health funds the Mental Health Commission to commission independent research into the mental health of both FIFO workers and their families,” Dr Gannon said.


Dr Gannon said that both mining companies and the Department of Mines and Petroleum need to be more involved in providing a safe workplace for FIFO workers.


“The Committee has recommended that a clause be included in the new Work Health and Safety (Resources) Bill that requires mine managers to report all attempted suicides and suicides at any location at a mine to the Department,” he said.


“The AMA (WA) fully supports this recommendation, and I find it hard to believe that the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia has come out and stated that mining companies are not responsible for collecting this data.


“Like all workplaces in Australia, mining companies are legally obligated to provide a safe workplace,” Dr Gannon said.

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"It is my hope that we can tackle the challenges our profession faces, united as one. If we dislike our working hours, our pay, gender inequality or low training opportunities, we can change these together. As a nurse in my previous life, I know that when a profession stands as one, people listen."
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