Fly-in fly-out work practices

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See more resources on Fly-in fly-out work practices in the AIFS library catalogue.

Impact of FIFO work arrangements on the mental health and wellbeing of FIFO workers

Parker S and Fruhen L
Perth, W.A. : WA Mental Health Commission, 2018.
The mental health and wellbeing of the sizeable 'fly in fly out' workforce in Western Australia is of great concern. This study was instigated by a 2015 Parliamentary Inquiry which called for further independent research into this issue. In particular, the study investigates the mental health impacts and benefits of FIFO work arrangements on workers and their families, harmful drinking and drug use by workers and its impact on mental health, and the positive and negative coping strategies employed by workers and their families. For this study, mental health includes issues of psychological distress, 'thwarted belonging', 'perceived burdensomeness', suicidality, burnout and mental exhaustion, and emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. Bullying, sleep, and physical pain were also considered. The study involves a review of the literature, a comparison of general population studies against a survey of 3,108 FIFO workers, surveys of 373 partners and 487 former FIFO workers, a longitudinal study of 205 FIFO workers, and qualitative interviews with 24 FIFO workers and 16 family members and friends. This report presents the findings and recommendations of the study. It concludes with actions for organisations and individual FIFO workers and their families to improve mental health.

Psychological distress in remote mining and construction workers in Australia.

Bowers J, Lo J, Miller P, Mawren D and Jones B
Medical Journal of Australia v. 208 no. 9 14 May 2018: Advance online publication
This article investigates the prevalence of psychological distress in among mining and construction workers in remote areas of Australia, and its associated factors. 1124 employees from ten mining sites in South Australia and Western Australia undertook a Wellbeing and Lifestyle Survey in 2013-2015. The study found that psychological distress is significantly more prevalent among these remote workers than in the general population, particularly for workers aged 25-34 years old. The most frequently reported stressors were missing special events, relationship problems with partners, financial stress, shift rosters, and social isolation. Stigma about mental health is also an issue.

Moving beyond the individual : addressing the social determinants of risk taking in mining communities.

O'Mullan C, Debattista J and Keen-Dyer H
Rural Society v. 27 no. 1 Mar 2018: 35-51
People in remote mining towns live and work in atypical circumstances. This article explores the impact of social factors on risk taking in this context, drawing on interviews with 16 health and social service providers serving three mining communities in the Bowen Basin region of Central Queensland. Four key themes are raised, for locals and workers: income inequality, shift work schedules, workplace culture, and transience, with its impact on loneliness, isolation, community disconnectedness, and boredom. The broad implications for intervention are briefly discussed.

The social impacts of mining on local communities in Australia.

Sincovich A, Gregory T, Wilson A and Brinkman S
Rural Society v. 27 no. 1 Mar 2018: 18-34
This article provides an overview of the literature on the social impact of mining on miners, their families, and local communities in Australia. It is organised into seven themes: adverse impacts of increasing non-resident workforces; pressures on infrastructure, housing and services; income inequality; poor child development and education outcomes; pressures on families and relationships; drug and alcohol abuse; and impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The article discusses the growth of the literature and gaps in the research.

Employee engagement and emotional exhaustion of fly-in-fly-out workers : a diary study.

Albrecht S and Anglim J
Australian Journal of Psychology v. 70 no. 1 Mar 2018: 66-75
This article looks at the impact of fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) work practices on employee motivation and wellbeing. 52 FIFO workers completed online diaries, which were analysed for themes of engagement, supervisor support, emotional demand, autonomy, workload, and emotional exhaustion. The findings for personnel management and support are discussed.

Long-distance commuting and dispersed socio-economic benefits of connectivity.

McKenzie F and Hoath A
Rural Society v. 26 no. 3 Nov 2017: 253-264
This article adds to the research on the impacts of long-distance commuting on communities. It presents a case study of 3 'source' towns in Western Australia suppling fly-in fly-out or drive-in drive-out labour to the sites of a large mining company, analysing the socio-economic impacts on the workers, their families, and local businesses.

Experiences of fly-in, fly-out and drive-in, drive-out rural and remote psychologists.

Sutherland C, Chur-Hansen A and Winefield H
Australian Psychologist v. 52 no. 3 Jun 2017: 219-229
This article explores the experience of psychologists engaged in fly-in fly-out (FIFO) and drive-in drive out (DIDO) work practices. Interviews were conducted with 10 psychologists living in urban South Australia who worked in rural and remote areas, regarding the similarities and differences with residential rural work, and the unique challenges and advantages of this work style, including support needs and professional isolation.

What drives long distance commuting into Australian regions? A spatial panel model approach.

Nicholas C and Welters R
Journal of Rural Studies v. 49 Jan 2017: 140-150
This article adds to the research on the impact of long distance commuting on a host region by including temporal variability and spatial interaction into the analysis. Spatial panel modelling is used to explore the possible drivers of long distance commuting across 516 Local Government Areas across Australia over two census periods - 2006 and 2011. Factors such as local labour market characteristics, local service provision, housing affordability, availability of rental accommodation, and resident population turnover and social capital are assessed - factors considered by recruitment agencies and workers when considering using long distance commuting.

A quiet crisis: male health in rural, remote and regional Western Australia : a report on the status of male health and wellbeing in non-metropolitan Western Australia and access to services

Men's Health and Wellbeing WA Inc.
East Perth, WA : Men's Health and Wellbeing WA, 2016.
This report looks into the health and wellbeing of males in rural, regional and remote areas of Western Australia. It investigates the spatial and temporal variability in men's health and wellbeing, benchmarking this against state and national statistics, and identifies the social, economic, and other determinants influencing the health of males. Research suggests that those living outside of the metropolitan area in Western Australia have increasingly poorer health than those living within such areas, and this report highlights the social, lifestyle, health, economic, and environmental risk factors involved. It reviews the research literature and analyses government statistics before considering the implications for service delivery and funding. Topics include: life expectancy, suicide, morbidity, substance and alcohol use, diet, mobile and fly in fly out employment, non-metropolitan living, socioeconomic status, employment, education, Indigenous status, and environmental conditions.

Fly-in-fly-out : designing a better fly-in-fly-out lifestyle in Western Australia.

Kueh C, Medley S and Watson J
Resnick, Elizabeth, ed. Developing citizen designers. New York : Bloomsbury Academic, 2016: 240-244
More and more families in Western Australia are exposed to parental absence through fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) work patterns. These families can experience emotional, relationship, and mental health problems due to the frequent and repeated partings and reunions. This case study describes a project focused on the development of effect communication pathways and platforms to assist current and prospective FIFO families to better manage the challenges of this lifestyle. It introduces a design-thinking process as a series of holistic strategies to define problems, develop and prototype ideas, and propose implementation pathways.

The mental health of Australian miners is affected by the degree of roster compression that they experience, but not whether they Fly-In/Fly-Out (FIFO).

Kershaw G
Background: Fly-In Fly-Out (FIFO) resource workers travel to a project site and complete long shifts over many consecutive days, staying in company-provided accommodation, before returning home for a number of days off. There has been consistent and persistent speculation and anecdotal evidence concerning the perceived negative effects of the practice on individual workers and their families. Despite the issue of the mental health of Australian FIFO workers receiving increased attention in recent years, only limited, often contradictory, empirical data exists on the topic. Research Aims: Provide a direct comparison between FIFO and Daily Commute (DC) resource worker depression, anxiety, stress, psychological distress and relationship satisfaction. To explore how individual, contextual and occupational factors implicated by previous research affected these measures. Methodology and Findings: 234 participants, all resource workers in the same project in Queensland, completed an internet-based survey that captured demographic information, occupation information such as roster type, and individual information such as intention to continue in role. The participants completed a Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21), a Couples Satisfaction Index (CSI-4), and a Tactics for Coping with Stress Inventory. No significant difference was found between FIFO and DC workers. However, people working more compressed rosters (fewer than half as many days off as on) reported higher levels of psychological distress and stress than those working less compressed rosters. The effect of a number of contextual and individual factors was also explored. Conclusion: This study adds to the current body of research by confirming that FIFO workers do not experience greater psychological distress than their DC colleagues. Findings regarding the higher levels of stress and psychological distress amongst those working high compression rosters also confirm previous study findings. Further research into the psychological effects of resource sector work would be helpful, paying particular attention to specific roster patterns.

The association of fly-in fly-out employment, family connectedness, parental presence and adolescent wellbeing.

Lester L, Watson J, Waters S and Cross D
Journal of Child and Family Studies v. 25 no. 12 Dec 2016: 3619-3626
When attachment to parents is disrupted by a parent working away from home, it can impact upon young people's mental and emotional well-being and feelings of connection to their family. This article explores this disruption in the context of fly-in fly-out employment, a widespread form of employment in Australia's industry boom regions. Drawing on survey of over 3,000 Grades 5?10 students from 40 metropolitan and rural schools in West Australia, the article investigates the mediation of parental presence and family connectedness on the association between fly-in fly-out employment and adolescent well-being. The findings indicate that the intermittent absence/presence of fly-in fly-out employment patterns create challenges for adolescents and highlights the importance of strengthening family connections in these households.

Women in the Australian mining industry: careers and families

Terrill J
"This thesis examines the impact of families and relationships on the careers of technical professional women in the Australian mining industry ... Since the late 1990s a series of industry-based studies have focused on increasing women's attraction to and retention in this male dominated industry. However, women's participation has only risen from 10% to 16%, despite women's increased access to education and employment more broadly over this period and greater awareness by industry leaders of the benefits of gender diversity ... Industry-sponsored reports have consistently found that women commonly leave mining for family-related reasons, as is found by research on women's workforce participation more broadly. However, some women maintain their commitment to the industry and there are isolated examples of women who are successful in reaching senior leadership positions. The aim of this thesis is to examine the factors distinctive of the mining industry that influence women's work experiences, focusing specifically on work-family linkages ... The first part of the study analyses new survey data to show that women in mining were younger and less likely to be married or have children than their male peers. Women in the key child-rearing ages reported the poorest work-family balance, while those working flexibly reported the best. The typical woman in mining may be portrayed as young, single and childless. The second part of the study analyses qualitative data and finds that childless women and those who delegated caregiving responsibilities could achieve upward career progression. In contrast, the careers of secondary wage earners are constrained by longer career breaks, working in part time roles and prioritising their partners' careers. The third part of the study analyses face-to-face interview data to identify and examine three major career barriers for women with children: obtaining operational experience; access to childcare; and negotiating for and working in flexible roles."--Author abstract.

Non-resident workers : a comparison of family support services for resource, health, and defence communities.

Langdon R, Rowland B and Biggs H
Australian Bulletin of Labour v. 42 no. 1 2016: 93-107
Non-resident workforces experience high labour turnover, which has an impact on organisational operations and affects worker satisfaction and, in turn, partners' ability to cope with work-related absences. Research suggests that partner satisfaction may be increased by providing a range of support services, which include professional, practical, and social support. A search was conducted to identify support available for resources and health-industry non-resident workers. These were compared to the supports available to families of deployed defence personnel. They were used to compare and contrast the spread available for each industry. The resources industry primarily provided social support, and lacked an inclusion of professional and practical supports. Health-professional support services were largely directed towards extended locum support, rather than to Fly-In Fly-Out workers. Improving sources of support which parallel support provided to the Australian Defence Force is suggested as a way to increase partner satisfaction. The implications are to understand the level of uptake, perceived importance, and utilisation of such support services.

When a non-resident worker is a non-resident parent : investigating the family impact of fly-in, fly-out work practices in Australia.

Dittman C, Henriquez A and Roxburgh N
Journal of Child and Family Studies v. 25 no. 9 Sep 2016: 2778-2796
This article investigates the impact of non-resident work arrangements - such as Fly-In/Fly-Out (FIFO) - on children and families, and the family- and work-related factors that are associated with different outcomes. Surveys were conducted by 46 FIFO workers, 232 partners of FIFO workers, and a comparison group of parents, regarding family and couple relationship quality, family conflict, child behavioural and emotional adjustment, parenting style, parenting competence, and personal adjustment, emotional problems, and alcohol use. The implications have findings for supporting FIFO families.

The resource boom and socio-economic well-being in Australian resource towns : a temporal and spatial analysis.

Chapman R, Plummer P and Tonts M
Urban Geography v. 36 no. 5 2015: 629-623
The mining industry has expanded very rapidly in Western Australia over the past decade, with significant implications for small local support towns. This article explores the socio-economic wellbeing of these town over time, using the measures of unemployment, welfare dependence, and income over a 10 year period. This spatio-temporal approach adds to the evidence base on this issue.

Carving out employment futures for Aboriginal ex-prisoners in the resource sector.

Giles M, Larsen A and Whale J
Australian Bulletin of Labour v. 41 no. 1 2015: 38-57
The resource sector in northern Western Australia draws its workforce from local purpose-built towns (drive-in/drive-out (DIDO) workers) and metropolitan areas (fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) workers). However, each of these arrangements has a downside. Mining towns are costly to build and maintain. Staff turnover is high. FIFO lifestyles adopted by city-based tradesmen seeking high incomes can lead to social dysfunction. Hence, the question: is there a viable alternative in these regional and remote areasfor local communities to provide workers and ancillary supportfor the resource sector? For example most of the inland mines in Western Australia are located near or within Aboriginal communities. Returning to these communities are ex-prisoners who have had the opportunity to gain trade skills while in metropolitan prisons. This article considers whether Aboriginal ex-prisoners might be gainfully employed in the resource sector in the Pilbara and Kimberley regions of Western Australia.

The pros and cons of long distance commuting : comments from South Australian mining and resource workers.

Misan G and Rudnik E
Journal of Economic and Social Policy v. 17 no. 1 Jun 2015: Article 6
This article adds to the literature on long distance commuting in the mining and resources sector in Australia, with a study exploring the experiences of workers in South Australia. Interviews were conducted with 104 workers regarding the perceived benefits, disadvantages, enablers, supports, and stressors of long distance commuting. The participants commented that this work is satisfying and has positive personal, lifestyle, career and family benefits, but that stressors include shift work, long rosters, separation from friends and family, missing family events, isolation, and fatigue.

FIFO Life Survey: a survey of the long distance commuting workforce : full results - 2014

FIFO Families (Organization), Creating Communities Australia (Firm)
Brisbane, Qld. : Queensland Parliament, 2015
This document provides the full results from a 2013 survey into the characteristics, circumstances, and experiences of 'fly in, fly out' (FIFO) and other long distance commuting workers in Australia. 800 workers participated. Presented chiefly in graphs, the document presents information on worker age and gender, health, nature of employment, rosters and shifts, commuting time, productivity, families and children, income, satisfaction with accommodation, and job satisfaction. The workers were also asked about induction processes and what programs and services would improve the transition and retention for workers and families.

The impact of FIFO work practices on mental health: final report

Jacobs G
Perth, WA : Parliament of Western Australia, 2015.
This inquiry was commissioned to investigate the impact of 'fly-in, fly-out' (FIFO) work arrangements in the mining sector in Western Australia on workers' mental health and suicide. This report presents the findings and recommendations of the inquiry. It discusses prevalence and incidence of mental health concerns and suicide, typical FIFO worker characteristics and demographic risk factors, the current legislative framework, challenges in the nature of FIFO work and rostering, screening, workplace culture, bullying, stigma, fatigue, impact on personal relationships, on-site accommodation and facilities, alcohol, the impact of FIFO on local host communities and source communities, and the challenges and opportunities for improving FIFO.

Factors linked to the well-being of 'fly-in, fly-out' workers.

Barclay M, Harris J, Everingham J, Kirsch P, Arend S, Shi S and Kim J
AusIMM Bulletin no. 2 Apr 2014: 40-43
This article reports on research from 2012 into the factors linked to the retention and well-being of 'fly-in fly-out' (FIFO) workers in the resources sector in Australia. The research involved a literature review and a survey of 286 FIFO workers. Issues discussed include work characteristics, commuting arrangements, job satisfaction and turnover, accommodation and amenities, physical and mental health, privacy and personal space, life satisfaction, and salaries.

Making the FIFO choice work

FIFO Families (Organization), Creating Communities Australia (Firm)
Jolimont, W.A. : Creating Communities, 2014
This document summarises findings from a 2013 survey into the characteristics, circumstances, and experiences of 'fly in, fly out' (FIFO) and other long distance commuting workers in Australia. 800 workers participated. The document is aimed at companies and services working to recruit and retain staff: it describes the characteristics of those most satisified with FIFO employment and provides a flow chart on key stages for induction and support for workers and families.

New directions in FIFO living : an exploration of community and village life : summary white paper.

Edith Cowan University
McMahons Point, NSW : ESS Support Services Worldwide, 2014.
This paper summarises findings from a study into workers' perceptions, experiences, and expectations of services and facilities provided at remote sites, and how these services and facilities support workers' physical and mental wellbeing, fitness for work, and retention. 536 fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) and drive-in/drive-out (DIDO) workers were surveyed regarding the built environment and infrastructure, communication technology, food services, room allocation, and sport and recreation. The study was commissioned by Compass Group as part of its continuous development and improvement of the service offerings provided to the resources sector by ESS Support Services Worldwide.

Determinants of employee-turnover intentions in atypical employment : the FIFO mining industry in Western Australia.

Brown A, Susomrith P, Sitlington H and Scott G
Australian Bulletin of Labour v. 40 no. 2 2014: 116-137
In the Western Australian mining sector, a significant portion of the workforce (at least 50 per cent) is employed in fly-in fly-out (FIFO) arrangements. This involves flying to isolated mining sites and working consecutive days usually for 11 or 12 hour shifts and returning home after a period of time (days or weeks). Such employment presents unique stresses on employees and at the same time offers significant opportunities such as high pay levels. During a decade of substantial growth in the industry, high levels of employee turnover have been experienced. This article examines the individual and organisational factors which contribute to this turnover. A questionnaire was used to measure employee views about their job and company, along with their intentions to stay or quit their job. This was administered in an iron-ore company with FIFO work arrangements. Findings show both organisational factors (rosters, supervisors, managers, and company culture) and personal factors (career goals and family circumstances) can influence turnover intentions.

Workers' perceptions of FIFO work in North Queensland, Australia.

Blackman A, Welters R, Murphy L, Eagle L, Pearce M, Pryce J, Lynch P and Low D
Australian Bulletin of Labour v. 40 no. 2 2014: 180-200
The impact of the fly-in fly-out (FIFO) lifestyle on the psychosocial and emotional well-being of the workers and their families has been a topic of discussion in local media, forums, and research, with mixed findings. In addition, there are reports that the communities that carry the increased presence of non-resident workers suffer erosion of social, human, economic, institutional, and environmental capital. This study outlines the positive effects of a FIFO lifestyle and discusses the results from a survey conducted by the authors on North Queensland FIFO workers. In particular, the demography of the FIFO workforce in North Queensland, workers' perceptions of FIFO work, and their perceptions of the impacts on social interaction for FIFO workers. The article closes with a brief outline of future research areas.

Adjustment, well-being and help-seeking among Australian FIFO mining employees.

Vojnovic P, Michelson G, Jackson D and Bahn S
Australian Bulletin of Labour v. 40 no. 2 2014: 242-261
The theme of fly-in fly-out (FIFO) employment arrangements has attracted considerable policy and media interest, yet there is limited knowledge about the impact of such employment on workers and how they might manage the various strains associated with FIFO work. To advance this line of research, this article examines the antecedent factors of and relationships between adjustment, well-being, and help-seeking among FIFO employees. Our primary contribution is to develop a model and a series of propositions which will assist researchers, the industry, and policy-makers to understand the complex circumstances and impacts of FIFO employment better.

Investigation into the effect of infrastructure on fly-in fly-out mining workers.

Perring A, Pham K, Snow S and Buys L
Australian Journal of Rural Health v. 22 no. 6 Dec 2014: 323-327
Based on interviews with 7 fly-in fly-out (FIFO) mining workers, this article explores workers' access to and use of on-site recreational facilities and activities, and the implications for health and sense of community.

Shining a light on FIFO mental health: a discussion paper

Jacobs G
Perth, WA : Parliament of Western Australia, 2014.
The Education and Health Standing Committee of Western Australia is currently inquiring into the factors that may lead to mental illness and suicide among 'fly-in fly-out' (FIFO) workers, as well as the current legislation, policies, practices, and initiatives for workplace mental health. As part of the inquiry, this discussion paper summarises the Committee's work to date and invites further feedback from the public.

The health and wellbeing status of Western Australian males and the MAN Forum Report: 2013/2014

MAN - Healthier Directions for Males Inc.
East Perth, WA : MAN Healthier directions for males, 2014
The National Male Health Policy and the Western Australian Aboriginal Men's Health Strategy both aim to highlight and improve men's health, but there is yet to be a Western Australian health policy for men in general. This report draws attention to this situation by providing data on the state of men's health and what experts in the field think can be done to help. First, it presents statistics on the health and wellbeing of Western Australian males - including leading causes of mortality lifestyle factors influencing male health, including drug use, diet, incarceration, fly-in fly-out work, and violence and assault perpetration and victimisation. To explore these issues further, the report then presents findings from a World Cafe Forum held in May 2013, which brought together 55 key sector leaders to investigate issues of male health and wellbeing.

Geographic labour mobility: research report

Australia. Productivity Commission
Melbourne, Vic. : Productivity Commission, 2014.
Geographic labour mobility is an important element of a well-functioning labour market. By improving matches between employers and workers, geographic labour mobility can contribute to economic efficiency and community wellbeing. This report was commissioned by the Federal Government to examine the role of geographic mobility in more detail. It investigates patterns of mobility, the key determinants of mobility, the effectiveness of market signals, and the major impediments to geographic labour mobility. This report presents the findings of the study and recommendations on how government can improve geographic labour mobility in Australia.
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