Abstract: The Western Australian (WA) mining industry directly employs approximately 56,000 people. Almost half work Fly-in/Fly-out commute arrangements (FIFO, e.g. employees living in a city are flown to a remote worksite where they live and work during their work roster) and approximately half work more than 50 hours per week, on average. There are many anecdotal claims that FIFO has negative impacts on WA mining employees, leading to an elevated risk of high stress levels, depression, binge drinking, recreational drug use and relationship break-ups. Previous studies found FIFO can be stressful, and have negative impacts on WA employees 'and partners' lifestyles and relationships. This project investigated the long-term (Study One) and short-term (Study Two) impacts of FIFO and extended working hours on a representative sample of WA FIFO mining employees and partners. In Study One, a total of 222 FIFO and Daily Commute (DC) mining employees and partners completed an anonymous questionnaire investigating long-term impacts on work satisfaction, lifestyle, relationships and health. A subgroup of 32 Study One FIFO employees and partners also participated in Study Two; a detailed study of the short-term impacts of FIFO and extended working hours and how these impacts fluctuate in intensity during the mining roster. Study Two participants completed a diary and provided saliva samples each day throughout a complete mining roster. The main findings of the study were that FIFO and extended working hours had negative impacts on employees work satisfaction and FIFO was frequently reported to be disruptive to employees 'and partners' lifestyle, in the long-term. However, FIFO and extended working hours did not lead to poor quality relationships, high stress levels or poor health, on average in the long-term; there were generally no significant differences in these characteristics between FIFO and DC employees, or between the FIFO sample and the wider community. There were minor differences between FIFO and DC employees in long-term health characteristics, and Study One employees had similar, or in some cases poorer health outcomes than other community samples.
Clifford, S., 2009, The effects of fly-in/fly-out commute arrangements and extended working hours on the stress, lifestyle, relationship and health characteristics of Western Australian mining employees and their partners, Volume:PhD, Thesis, viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=4014.