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Work Design in Preventing Mental Ill-Health Amongst FIFO Workers

Last year, triggered by a spate of suicides, an inquiry was commissioned to understand the effect of FIFO work on mental health in the resources industry. The resulting report "The Impact of FIFO Work Practices on Mental Health" (see below) made a number of recommendations, which were discussed at the lunchtime forum hosted by Deloitte.

Sharon was one of the three presenters at the session. She presented the UWA Well-Being Model, as well some illustrative research. Sharon argued that - whilst of course important- too much focus is on "mitigating illness" as a strategy, with insufficient attention to preventing illness in the first place.

In the case of FIFO, it is essential to monitor and treat mental ill health. But, just as important, is changing the roster and shift structures, which will improve home-work family relations, reduce fatigue, and prevent ill health. Unfortunately recommendations about the latter aspect were only 'noted' in the parliamentary response rather than 'supported'. Attention to work design simply doesn't get the attention it deserves in discussions of FIFO worker mental health.

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