The Australian mining and resource industry has experienced rapid expansion in the last couple of decades. This has led to an increase of fly-in, fly-out (FIFO), or drive-in, drive-out (DIDO) employees. These workers are usually rostered in rotating blocks. This means living at camps close to the workplace for days at a time and then having a period of time off so they can return home. The effects of rotating blocks can be physically, psychologically and emotionally draining on the worker and their families, partners, children and friends. At this stage, little research exists about the drinking patterns of FIFO workers. People report anecdotally that these workers drink large amounts of alcohol because they’re lonely and have few recreation activities available where they live. The challenges of living away from family and friends, loneliness, and working in a harsh environment can affect the mental health of FIFO workers.
Information in this section has been drawn and adapted from the following sources:
- Barclay, M, Harris, J, Kirsch, P, Arend, S, Shi, S, & Kim, J, 2013, Factors linked to the Well-being of Fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers. Research Report, CSRM and MISHC, Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland: Brisbane, Australia.
- Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health Queensland, 2010, “This Place Is Doing My Head In” Strategies for building mental health and wellbeing in the mining and resources sector, Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health Queensland, Cairns.
- 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: Report of research findings, Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Western Australia, Perth. Available from: http://www.uwa.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/405426/FIFO_Report.pdf
- Henry, P, Hamilton, K, Watson, S, Macdonald, N, 2013 Lifeline WA: FIFO/DIDO Mental Health Research Report 2013, Raw Hire, Australian Institute of Management Western Australia, The Sellenger Centre for Research in Law, Justice and Social Change, Edith Cowan University. Available from: http://www.lifelinewa.org.au/download/FIFO%20DIDO%20Mental%20Health%20Research%20Report%202013.pdf
- Morris, R. 2012 Scoping Study: Impact of Fly-in Fly-out/Drive-in Drive-out Work Practices on Local Government, Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government, University of Technology, Sydney.