Another Barrow Island worker commits suicide

A man working at Chevron’s Gorgon Project has taken his own life.

The age and occupation of the man are unclear, but it is understood he was a FIFO worker on the island.

Australian Mining understands the tragic incident took place in early December while the man was at home during his time off.

It is believed the man had been denied leave over Christmas.

This is the second suicide of a worker on Barrow Island in the space of four months.

Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union secretary Steve McCartney said the tragic deaths highlighted the need for the industry to look after its workers, WAtoday reported.

"While we are still investigating the details of this last tragedy, we are again reminded of the need for a cultural change within the resources industry so that workers receive the support they need in and workplace conditions don't make matters worse,” McCartney said.

A recent WA parliamentary inquiry into the effects of FIFO on mental has been launched.

The chairman of the inquiry has said that “equal time” could be the optimum FIFO roster compression for mining workers.

It was also found that employees feared getting a “window seat” (loss of employment) if they were found out by an employer to have sought treatment for mental illness.

The new report has expressed the difficulty with corroborating suicide statistics in the FIFO industry, and the need for better standards of reporting for such incidents.

It said of the nine allegedly FIFO-related suicides that occurred over a 12 month period in WA, the inquiry was only able to gather data about five victims.

Suicide risk factors for FIFO workers included isolation from family and friendship support networks, high compression FIFO rosters, stress and fatigue, and the statistical rate of mental illness and suicidal tendencies among the predominant gender-age range of employees in the mining industry (men aged between 25-44).

The committee will go on site visits in early February to visit a variety of mining operation and accommodation facilities in order to see what support they have in place for workers.

McCartney said the AMWU supported the inquiry.

"The union movement has been consistently calling for more family-friendly rosters, so that families spend shorter stretches of time apart, and workers get more opportunity to participate in community and family life.

"We have also sought the establishment of return-to-work programs, to assist who have mental health issues.

"These changes may take a few dollars to implement, but the cost of not addressing this issue is far, far greater."

If you feel like you're having problems with depression or coping at work, or if you think someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or the Suicide Call Back Line on 1300 659 467.

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