Impact of FIFO work arrangements on the mental health and well-being of FIFO workers

This research from the Centre for Transformative Work Design brings together findings from a literature review with a comprehensive analysis of 59 FIFO studies, a survey of more than 3000 FIFO workers, in-depth interviews, surveys of FIFO partners and former FIFO workers, and a study that tracks how workers’ experiences vary across five points of a swing.

The findings across all of these sources of evidence are remarkably consistent. The research shows that, even when taking account of associated risk factors such as age and education, there is a greater risk of mental ill health amongst those workers operating under FIFO work arrangements. Indeed, one third of the 3000 FIFO workers surveyed experience high or very high levels of psychological distress, as measured on an extensively validated scale.

Crucially, poorer mental health and riskier alcohol and other drug use are risk factors for suicide, and both of these risk factors are present in the FIFO sample. In addition, FIFO workers have a demographic profile (gender, age, education, job role) in which suicide likelihood is greater, while also reporting feelings of loneliness, stigma, bullying and perceived lack of autonomy. Altogether, this pattern of findings suggests that FIFO workers are likely to be at greater risk of suicide.

Impact of FIFO work arrangements on the mental health and well-being of FIFO workers

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