FIFO workers’ health and wellbeing under spotlight in Pilbara

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Mental health and wellbeing of men living in remote Western Australian mining communities are being placed at the forefront in the Pilbara during Men’s Health Week (June 11-17).

The remote mining and construction workforce experiences psychological distress significantly more than the general community, new research has found. The distress is attributed to social isolation, schedule patterns and relationships strain, among others.

Another finding showed that right from the start, boys are suffering more illnesses, more accidents and die earlier than their female counterparts.

Hamish Johnston, national manager of health and recreation services at ESS Support Services Worldwide, said the virtual group fitness initiative was one way to improve village life and overall health and wellbeing for fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers, particularly males.

“It’s very important for us to be able to provide options and outlets for men to talk and do something about their health and wellbeing. Virtual fitness studios provide an additional stress outlet and we’re really hoping it will enhance the environment of these communities,” said Johnston.

Two sites in the Pilbara region last week launched Les Mills Virtual group fitness classes as a health initiative for FIFO workers.

Les Mills Asia Pacific Australia general manager Andrew Taylor said, “Virtual group fitness is a great supplement to live classes, especially for those people like FIFO and shift workers, who can’t necessarily get to a scheduled live class due to their roster.”

More than 20 percent of 1100 workers sampled in a Medical Journal of Australia survey displayed poor mental health rating — in contrast to 15 per cent in the general population.