Mining jobs blamed for poor work-life balance

The new Australian Work and Life Index report suggests those working in the mining industry are doing it tough.

The issues of work-life balance are well known, but a new report out this week suggests those working in the mining industry and shift workers are having a harder go than most.

The report, conducted by the Centre for Work + Life, highlighted the negative work-life balance created from working in the industry and states ‘the mining industry has the worst work-life interference’ which is attributed to ‘long hours, shift work and extensive travel requirements.’

Centre for Work and Life director, Barbara Pocock, said it highlighted the negative impact the industry could have on workers’ lives, The Observer reported.

"If you look at the hours they work, they are very long," she said.

"People who work shift work, and for extended periods, can certainly have negative effects on their health."

However, she did point out that the balance relied heavily on other factors including the individual’s age and martial status.

"These hours are not as negative for a young male just looking for money and only working in the industry for a set period of time," Pocock said.

"Those with a partner or family, who don't want to be working these long hours, it will have negative effects.

"There is a need to manage carefully around negative work-life interference, and the impact on the body and family."

As Australian Mining reported in July, the stresses placed on mining families due to long working hours, living in regional areas and fly-in-fly-out roles, could be quite extreme.

A survival guide for mining families was released this year that touches on all the issues that affect those in the mining industry.

The 176-page book provides professional advice and practical strategies to help ensure that lucrative mining jobs don't jeopardise strong relationships with partners and children.

Co-creator of the book, Alicia Ranford said that while there was added pressure on families within the industry, there were practical ways to deal with any issues.

"Working away from home is a fact of life for a growing number of Australian families – it can be a positive experience so long as couples are very clear about goals and potential problems up front," Willcocks says. 

"Great communication is the absolute key, and hopefully this book will start a lot of conversations on many personal levels," she says.

Image: University of South Australia website

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