Draft code focuses on FIFO mental health issues

Robert DoughertyNorth West Telegraph

The State Government has drafted a workplace code to address concerns about the mental health toll of fly-in, fly-out staff working in the resources and construction sectors.

The code, launched by Mines and Petroleum and Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston, aims to promote and maintain the mental health of FIFO workers and is open to public comment until April 19.

Mr Johnston said the draft aimed to address the industry’s potential psycho-social hazards and factors, and help protect mental health in the workplace.

“Creating a mentally healthy workplace not only benefits the mental health and wellbeing of the workforce, but builds trust and respect, and enhances an organisation’s reputation,” he said.

“Tragically, on average, one Western Australian takes their life every day, which is why the Mc-Gowan Government is committed to driving change in mental health, and improving workplace health and safety.”

The drafted code discusses the benefits of mentally healthy workplaces, with employers meeting their legal responsibilities, managing safety and health risks, decreasing disruptions and costs resulting from work-related harm, reducing worker turnover, absenteeism and reducing work-related injuries as well as improving productivity.

Lifeline WA chief executive Lorna MacGregor said it was supportive of the code. “Lifeline WA is supportive of a code of practice and the recognition that it is as important to ensure the safety of the mental health and wellbeing of FIFO workers as their physical health and safety,” she said.

“Lifeline WA strongly encourages that the code be reviewed once the results and recommendations from the Mental Health Commission’s FIFO Mental Health and Wellbeing research are released.”

The code was initially developed by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, after recommendations from the Legislative Assembly Education and Health Standing Committee.

The Legislative Assembly Education and Health Standing Committee previously tabled a report on the impact of FIFO work practices on mental health in June 2015.

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