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

Sharon Parker, Laura Fruhen, Cindy Burton, Shauna McQuade, Julie Loveny, Mark Griffin, Andrew Page, Tanya Chikritzhs, Susan Crock, Karina Jorritsma, Judy Esmond

Research output: Book/ReportOther output


Research Background: Fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) work practices are common in Western Australia (WA), with the industry providing employment for an estimated 60,000 people. An inquiry concluded in 2015 that a need for more research into the impact of FIFO work on worker mental health and wellbeing exists. This report presents findings from an extensive research project that consisted of a systematic literature review, a cross-sectional survey study, a longitudinal survey study, and a qualitative interview study. More than 3000 FIFO workers and partners were surveyed or interviewed.
Research contribution: The research shows FIFO workers and their partners are an at-risk group for mental ill health. Importantly, the research identifies strategies to protect and enhance FIFO workers’ mental health. Findings identify short and even time rosters, permanent accommodation on site, and social activities on site as beneficial for mental health. Further, work attributes such as employment type, autonomy at work, supervisor and team support were linked to mental health outcomes. Bullying and stigma were also key issues in relation to mental health and wellbeing amongst FIFO workers.
Research significance: Focusing on mental health is not only good for workers and their families, but also for productivity and business outcomes. The report has informed the in 2019 released WA government code of practice on FIFO worker mental health and has supported industry and other stakeholders in implementing positive change around FIFO work practices. The research data is being used to generate several scientific journal articles.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherCentre for Transformative Work Design
Commissioning bodyMental Health Commission (Western Australia)
Number of pages498
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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