FIFO workers say bosses don’t care

FIFO workers say their employers do not care about their wellbeing and most do not feel valued for the work they do, a new survey has found.

Libby Brook, of Murdoch University's school of psychology, said a survey of 223 FIFO workers found most feel their needs not are not being met, while many believe their companies are not doing enough to support them, The West Australian reported.

The survey is part of ongoing research at Murdoch University into the possible health affects of working in the mining industry.

Murdoch University's Graeme Ditchburn said the survey results show that employee support was important when it comes to job satisfaction.

"From an organisational perspective, companies need to be looking at how they can empower managers and supervisors to support their employees more efficiently and effectively," he said.

Another survey of FIFO workers and their partners showed that less than 50 per cent were aware of the resources and support available to employees in the industry.

"A number of companies have made major efforts to improve their support for FIFOs but our study shows more needs to be done to inform workers of what is available," Brook said.

A survey by Australian Coal and Energy conducted earlier this year by researchers at Griffith University highlighted the mixed experiences of workers in the sector.

It found unpredictable shift work rosters in the industry are having physical and psychological effects on workers and their families.

According to the research 61 per cent of mine and energy workers had no say in how many hours they worked a week, 70 per cent had no say in their types of shifts, 74 per cent had no say in which shifts they worked on particular days, and 79 per cent had no say in start and finishing times.

Professor David Peetz from Griffith University’s Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing said lack of control over work hours is being attributed to increasing levels of depression among shift workers and resulting in an increased use of a variety of prescription drugs.

“The respondents showed sleeping difficulties. And when you had lack of control combined with wanting to work fewer hours, it not only made mining and energy workers more likely to feel unsafe, it also had negative health effects, including on psychological health,” Peetz said

“The lack of say was having a flow-on effect.  Their partners often confirmed that their spouses were indeed too tired or emotionally drained to function properly and that it affected them.  Mining and energy workers and their partners were less satisfied with their free time or with how much they felt part of their community than were the broader Australian population,” Peetz said.

Australian Mining reported on mine site health earlier this year, stressing an alternative after it was found behind the tough exteriors many workers engaged in the mining industry in Australia experienced stress, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, feelings of anxiety, loneliness and depression.

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