Western Australia’s Parliament heard more about the State’s investigation into work-related mental health on June 26 2018.
One of the most rewarding sources of occupational health and safety (OHS) information is the literature review undertaken by, usually, university researchers. It is rewarding because someone else has done most of the reading for you and the spread of resources can be massive and/or global. But, there can also be missed opportunities from taking a narrow scope and from excluding some non-peer-reviewed analysis. One of these involves a systematic review of lost-time injuries in the global mining industry.
Today the Medical Journal of Australia released a media statement entitled:
“FIFO workers’ psychological distress “alarming””
What is more alarming is that the levels of psychological distress have remained high even though there have been inquiries into the mental health of Fly-In Fly-Out workers in Western Australia and Queensland since 2014!!
Western Australian research undertaken by
The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has released its submission to the Independent Review of Work Health and Safety Laws. It is a good example of the business-speak that can erode the effectiveness of clear communication, but the submission is still revealing. Here is an example from its Executive Summary:
“A nationally-consistent, risk-based preventative Work Health and Safety (WHS) regulatory system, supported by industry-specific regulation, would deliver benefits based on greater certainty, consistency and efficiency. It would also help to ensure that compliance challenges do not detract from the practical tasks of identifying, managing and minimising risk and the continuous improvement of safety and health outcomes by companies.” (Page 3)
So, the MCA wants national occupational health and safety (OHS) laws?
A common thread seems to be that it is impractical to build townships and facilities to support remote mine workers and which also provide services to workers’ families. One commenter posed these questions:
“Are we going to drag the FIFO families out to these areas, build houses for them, along with all the associated infrastructure to support them, for what may be only a 3-5 year construction program? Is it fair to drag the partners and families of FIFO workers away from their family supports (parents/friends, etc)? Away from decent medical care? Away from schools/universities?”
This may have been intended as rhetorical but prompts a question that I frequently ask when I consult with clients – “why not?”