Hard work forcing miners out of the industry

Despite record pay the brutal hours, drug use, and family pressure of fly-in fly-out work is forcing employees out of the mining industry at an alarming rate.

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Despite record pay the brutal hours, drug use, and family pressure of fly-in fly-out work is forcing employees out of the mining industry at an alarming rate.

The Federal Government inquiry into FIFO work is expected to hear from mining lobbies and employers this week on the attrition rate in the mining industry.

According to News Limited a report from the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy marks the attrition rate for FIFO workers at one in three within a year.

But the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union say there is evidence to suggest the rate is even worse.

The CFMEU told News Limited a "prison camp" culture existed at many sites with employers imposing demanding rules and regulations on workers.

According to Maritime Union of Australia spokesperson Doug Heath some workers on Chevron’s Gorgon Project in WA have a roster of 26 days on and nine days off.

Heath said a rise in urine tests by miners had also lead to a rise in hard drug use.

"We’ve seen a massive escalation in the use of hard drugs by workers rather than recreational drugs because they don’t stay in the system as long," he said.

"We’re not condoning people being under the influence of marijuana, but you’d rather be working with someone who may smoke cannabis as opposed to someone who is off their head on methamphetamine."

A Chevron spokesperson told News Limited the health and safety of its workforce was the "highest priority" for the company.

Earlier this year Kinetic Group CEO Derek Hunter told Australian Mining around 20 per cent of workers leaving mining jobs had been in the industry less than a year.

He said a large part of the high attrition rate was down to a "disconnect of expectations of a job in mining, and hard reality".

"People have such high expectations, of earning six figure salaries, of easy work, but they don’t understand the realities that come with a job in mining, the stress, and how a fly in fly out lifestyle affects them and their family," he said.

"The massive drop out we are seeing in the first 12 months is about their expectations, and the company’s, not being met – it’s really about job fit and working conditions."

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