Fifo working hours

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Fifo working hours

Due to the nature of the mining and energy sectors, the geographic locations of these working environments can be vast and remote, which means that workers cannot return home after their shift is finished. Instead they reside in purpose-built villages throughout their time on shift before returning home for their time off.

Workers are stay in accommodation close to their work site, although FIFOs have also been known to be housed in rented accommodation in local towns, hotels and motels. Make sure you do your research before you become a FIFO worker, search the internet and try and find out about the location where you will be working. Expect to work long hours as a FIFO worker, it is not uncommon to work a hour shift or longer on most days.

Shift workers can often suffer from fatigue due to the long working hours and obscure shift patterns that the job entails. While it is tempting to sleep in until 9 on your days off, if you are used to getting up at 5 everyday, suddenly switching your sleep pattern can seriously affect your health and your job performance. Try not to sleep more than two hours over the usual time you wake up to keep the same sleep pattern.

One of the benefits of being a FIFO worker is being invited into a rich community of other workers sharing the same shift patterns. Get involved with the sociable activities after work, create long-lasting friendships with your colleagues and enjoy the time you have with each other.

The type of projects that industries, such as minerals and energy, work on provide people with the opportunity to visit unique and diverse parts of Australia which have vibrant local communities.

Some companies are actively encouraging their staff to become involved with these communities by supporting local charities and events. This can also provide workers with a connection to the places they are working in when they are away from home, making them feel less lonely. Catered meals, buffet-style treats and a sociable dining atmosphere can make the temptation to pile your plate high hard to resist. It is common for FIFO workers to gain weight during their time away, which can lead to health problems and hinder your job performance.

While it is vital to properly fuel your body for the hard work ahead, you might regret overdoing it when the weight piles on. Try to also avoid consuming high levels of caffeine and alcohol, as stimulants like these are known to have a negative effect on the physical and mental wellbeing.

Trying to juggle family commitments with friends and other activities during your time at home can be challenging. While seeing your family and partner may seem like the most important thing to you when you come home, try to make the effort to see your friends when you can to allow yourself a balance.

Life as a FIFO worker can be incredibly financially rewarding, the challenging life away comes with a huge salary which means you can afford to provide your family with a comfortable lifestyle. Consider what you could do with your savings, especially when it comes to thinking about retirement. Even though it might be a long way off, it is always worth focusing on future goals and planning what to do with your salary can encourage you to work through the tough times that not seeing your family may bring.

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Advancements in technology have made it possible to stay connected to people when they are thousands of miles away from us. Like every job, being a FIFO worker comes with its own stresses. A lot of people find that the remote location combined with the time spent away from family can be difficult to deal with, so finding what helps you to manage stress is essential for any FIFO worker. Exercise can strengthen muscles, boost cardiovascular activity and more importantly help to reduce the levels of stress than can occur from working long shifts.

When you exercise your body releases feel-good hormones called endorphins, so you should feel more relaxed and content after a workout. There are many ways you could manage stress, watching your favourite TV show, playing a game of pool with your buddies or going for a run are just a few of the many ways to blow off steam post shift. Most partners and families will understand that your week off is a time for you to get some well-deserved rest, but looking after a family is a full-time job too and you should consider that your partner may also need some downtime.

A lot of families find that it works well to let their FIFO partner sleep for the first day that they return home. Once they are adjusted they can assign themselves responsibilities like picking the kids up from school and giving their partner some time off too. FIFO work gives you greater freedom to change jobs and experience a variety of amazing locations across Australia.

Due to the nature of the mining and construction industries, it is easy to switch job roles without uprooting your family or moving house. Many FIFO workers live in growing cities like Perth, and there is no shortage of things to do in these places.

Partly due to the rising number of wealthy people living in the city, Perth is quickly becoming one of the most advanced, cosmopolitan urban sprawls in the Southern Hemisphere. Additionally, there are plenty of museums, shops, bars and restaurants for you to peruse. If the fly-in-fly-out lifestyle sounds like the perfect balance to you then contact one of our migration agents today and see how we can assist you with your visa application.Generally FIFO jobs will involve working long shifts, for a specific number of days, whilst on site, and all the time off will then be spent at home rather than at the work site.

FIFO can work well, and many employees prefer this option, than having to relocate their entire family, where remote areas can be extremely limiting in terms of educational choices for children, job opportunities for other family members, and limited social activities. The bottom line is that employers have a very important role to play when dealing with the dynamics of FIFO. It is vital that employers take into account the impact that FIFO has on the families involved, that they look at what sort of hours and rosters will be implemented, how it's going to impact on the family unit, and that they are able to try to introduce some sort of balance into their employee's lives.

Toggle navigation. FIFO is very common in mining, because mines are often found in remote locations, hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest town.We are lucky here in Australia, we have a mining industry which is one of the safest in the world. While it might seem insignificant to most people, the fact that fatigue has actually been acknowledged as a real and present safety issue is a big step towards greater safety compliance in the industry.

Guidelines and legislation have been introduced from both policy-makers and regulatory bodies, fatigue management plans have been put in place by companies, fitness for work requirements now include fatigue, and staff are being trained and educated about fatigue management. We are also starting to see fatigue monitoring technology play its part in combatting fatigue risk. However, even with this kind of commitment to managing and mitigating it, fatigue is and always will be a complex issue and it continues to be a major concern in mining, particularly FIFO operations.

What we are finding is despite all the efforts to date to minimise fatigue risk, there remains a combination of factors holding the industry back. A thesis could be written on the subject however I will attempt to cover a few key areas in this article.

One of the most common barriers to fatigue management and healthy lifestyle for FIFO workers quite simply is lack of time for sufficient rest.

There are many tasks i. Add to this the fact that employees often find it difficult to rest sufficiently in their leave periods due to the lack of physical and psychosocial adjustment and it is clear why we are seeing a potentially hazardous and never ending cycle of fatigue for these workers.

Another issue we often see is FIFO camps not being conducive to healthy sleep hygiene.

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There are a range of factors influencing this however the key things that need to be considered are: having sleeping quarters situated away from food and leisure zones, positioning of generators, roads, and other ambient noise and the choice of building materials. There are also key design issues that factor in the effectiveness of sleep accommodation i. Furthermore, there must be great efforts to separate the sleeping locations of day shift and night workers to avoid sleep disruption, and also educating staff on the link between fatigue and blue light exposure televisions, computer and mobile devices before sleep.

We are also well aware of the problematic lure of alcohol and food in isolating and lonely environments such as FIFO camps—both of which may negatively influence fatigue levels at work and during leave periods. As we know, a higher percentage of overweight people suffer from sleep disorders as well as increased levels of physical fatigue. This is in addition to impaired health, lower productivity and higher absenteeism. While there have been serious efforts in the mining industry to address obesity in FIFO workers such as healthy meal choices and healthy lifestyle programs there may still be some situations where the unlimited food supply could be a source of comfort for those not adjusting so well to the FIFO lifestyle.

However it should be noted that the FIFO environment may simply attract a unique population of workers who may be, for whatever reasons, more overweight than the national average.

fifo working hours

Fast versus slowly rotating. Forward versus backwards rotating. Day versus night shifts. Twelve versus eight hours shifts, and many more combinations. Which is ideal? Night shifts are inherently more hazardous than morning or afternoon shifts; possibly up to six times more hazardous.

Longer work hours, such as 12 hour schedules and excessive overtime may also, on the balance of evidence, be more hazardous to health and safety of workers than shorter schedules, especially if containing safety-critical or nightshift work or a high workload. Rosters with early morning starts e. Each roster has its own advantages and disadvantages. The company must assess its own requirements, whilst consulting with its workforce, and decide on what combination of rostering arrangements compromises work best for their operations.

However, in general, current best practice evidence suggests that fast forward rotating schedules may minimise the amount of sleep disruption experienced by workers. The traditional weekly change of shifts appears to be the worst solution of all. Unfortunately, at this point in time there is no definitive answer to the correct length of swings and how shift work is structured within these swings.

Further consideration of roster structures and their inherent strengths and risks should be undertaken.FIFO work is the abbreviation for the immensely popular occupation affiliated with the mining industry, known as fly in fly out work or drive-in-drive-out work to desolate locations bound to demanding rosters.

While the job is widely recognised for delivering the incentivised elements of highly profitably pay packets, free flights, accommodation and food for the workers, these benefits knowingly come at a cost in return for their commitment to fulfil sporadic rosters, tasks involving high physical labour, and travel to remote and socially limiting locations, both within Australia and internationally — reaching destinations as far as Japan, the US, and Canada.

While the benefits of the job are significant, the negatives can sometimes outweigh the positives, as the physical and mental requirements associated with the job can, and often do have significant ramifications, not only to the detriment of the workers, but also towards the families and social relationships of those closely affiliated. This fear particularly came about after the inquiry into the mental health of FIFO workers was initiated after nine workers took their lives last year.

Common potential challenges and risks involving families and children of FIFO workers:. Recognisably, not all FIFO work results in negative mental health repercussions for the workers and their families, but the occupation has gained the reputation of having the highest rate of suicide between the ages of 25 and It is therefore necessary to consider the various potential and often serious mental health risks and implications that can and do occur for workers and their families and friends, and for those with concerns, to acknowledge the importance of seeking the wide range of help and support on offer to them when necessary.

At Anxiety House, we understand that for some individuals attaining in- clinic treatment face-to-face can prove too difficult — due to accessibility reasons, time constraints, or just because it causes too much individual distress. This is why we also offer online therapy as an option, which is predominantly conducted via Skype. Our online CBT programs for anxiety disorders use the same treatment as our traditional face to face sessions.

Clients participating in online therapy receive a full clinical assessment, and meet for weekly or fortnightly scheduled online therapy sessions with our clinicians.

Clients can also have the option of coming to our office for treatment if they decide that they would prefer face-to-face therapy at a later time. Alison Marland — Clinical Psychologist.

What is FIFO work and why has it gained media attention?

fifo working hours

What are some of the challenges and impacts involved for FIFO workers and their families? Clients can also have the option of coming to our office for treatment if they decide that they would prefer face-to-face therapy at a later time Our recommended therapist Alison Marland — Clinical Psychologist What is your experience? Interest in working with clients with a range of anxiety issues Clinical supervisor and STAP trained Experience working with clients with a range of presenting issues and of various ages in private practice setting.

Worked in tertiary referral adolescent mental health team Five years of working in university sector in training postgraduate clinical psychology students. Free Download WordPress Themes.

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Article Category. Make an Appointment. Self-Assesment Quiz. Contact Us.Cater Care provides full facilities services to remote mining locations. Working in the remote and mining services industry is both challenging and rewarding. The opportunity to fly in and fly out of a remote location can lead to a fantastic career, full of opportunity and an experience that will last a lifetime.

Our fly in, fly out FIFO positions involve flying in to your place of work for a period of time, before flying back home. As all our FIFO positions are in very remote locations, it requires periods away from home. A typical FIFO roster may be 14 days on, and 7 days off. Work hours are generally quite long and are usually hours per day.

During your stay on site, you will be provided your own accommodation, meals and recreational facilities to ensure your stay is enjoyable. This is where an employee may drive into site at the commencement of the first day of their roster and remain on site for their entire roster period and then drive home for their rostered off period.

Examples of DIDO positions can be people whose home is approximately a 2 or more hours drive away from the site. Cater Care on Linkedin. Login to Staff Portal.

The pros and cons of being a FIFO worker

Fly In Fly Out Careers. Are you looking to enter the remote and mining services industry but not sure what to expect? What is a FIFO position? What is a DIDO position? Some of the positions and duties you may be required to do as a FIFO worker includes: Catering and food services. Accommodation management.

Housekeeping, janitorial and cleaning duties. Facilities management. Ground maintenance. Waste management. Meals are provided free of charge, so you save on cost of living expenses. Your single person accommodation quarters will be serviced at least once a week and refreshed with clean linen, towels and basic toiletries — again, saving you money. This means it can assist to set yourself up financially. Remote site villages can be great places to live.

Companies are investing significant resources into ensuring a healthy lifestyle is available to all employees. You have the opportunity to live anywhere you like in Australia. Regardless of where you live, you simply just need to fly in to your worksite from your place of residence. You will have considerably more time off between rosters compared to a regular Monday to Friday job.

This allows you the chance to spend more quality time with your friends and family, enjoy your hobbies and interests and even travel. Earn frequent flyer points. Your points can also be used for shopping, or to book flights and accommodation for holidays.Unfortunately the nature of this type of work also presents a number of psychological issues and risks for employees and their families.

The challenges associated with FIFO workers and their families

Extended days, long work patterns and rosters, harsh climate conditions and regular travel all contribute to physical and psychological fatigue.

Add to this the need for sustained concentration in high-pressure work environments, and it is not difficult to understand the challenges that are present. The financial incentive that this type of work provides can be highly appealing, however the price it may extract is often much higher than anyone anticipates.

Changing shifts, irregular or long work hours, and stressful conditions not only disrupt normal sleep patterns but they can lead to chronic fatigue issues. Fatigue impairs our judgement and reduces our ability to function in daily life. For DIDO workers this significantly increases their risk of being involved in an accident while commuting to and from work.

It also negatively impacts the amount of energy the employee is able to invest with family and friends when they are at home. Fatigue is a contributing factor to relationship strain, which is compounded by extended periods apart, and not being able to be involved in day to day events and decision making. While most families enjoy the time the employee is home, there is a constant adjustment and re-adjustment process that needs to occur.

fifo working hours

This in itself is difficult and creates additional tension, anxiety and emotion. For the FIFO worker, this often translates to sadness and withdrawal before they leave for their next roster, and a feeling of helplessness to assist and contribute while they are away. For their family, it places additional responsibility and pressure on those at home and creates loneliness and fatigue.

One of the most significant and concerning issues is the increased prevalence of mental health issues across the industry. The predominantly male population and the level of fatigue, isolation, anxiety and stress involved in FIFO work significantly increase the risk of mental health issues. Over the past two years there has been a marked increased in the instances of suicide, attempted suicide and self harm.

The stigma related to mental health issues often inhibits employees seeking help, and the lack of awareness and confidence of managers means the issues are often left unattended.

As well as these, there are added risks relating to the use and misuse of alcohol both onsite and during time off work. The degree of alcohol used is concerning and creates risks for employees and their family. Many employees drink in response to the loneliness, stress and anxiety they are experiencing. Drinking at harmful levels contributes to the pattern of stress, anxiety, depression and combined with alcohol often leading to deliberate self-harm and further increasing the suicide risk. Alcohol, coupled with the relationship challenges of missing family celebrations, being away from children and being absent from the day to day decision making can leave employees feeling lonely, out of control and of diminished importance in their home.

Over the past year there is a disturbing trend of domestic violence emerging from this combination. Some of the most effective measures include:. Ensure information is provided to these employees and their family members on the known challenges of the work experience and provide practical strategies to assist.

These may include introduction to support networks and providing practical information on the key risk areas. Run awareness and education programs for employees and their family members on topics such as safe alcohol use, sleep management, and managing relationships from a distance.

Provide a specific focus on the issues of stress, mental health and suicide. At a minimum this should include awareness sessions for all employees on mental health issues and direct activities to remove the stigma related to mental health in the workplace. Participating in national events such as R U OK? Provide direct training for managers and HR specialists on how to recognise and effectively deal with mental health issues in the workplace.

Consider investing in resilience programs for your workplace to better equip your employees to deal with the changing demands this work and the related family impact involves. Provide employee assistance support in addition to face-to-face, telephone, video and online access leading industry employers are increasingly bringing this service directly to employees on site. In all of these actions it is particularly valuable to link family members into the support and information available, and include them in communication on the issues and risks.

The most important thing you can do is to recognise the risks and start to address them. Assuming that your employees and are not impacted by the key issues of fatigue, stress, alcohol, mental health and relationship strain is a dangerous mindset that will further increase the risk for your employees and your organisation. Search for:.Publication summary. View publication as a single page. Two categories of factors are discussed. Organisational factors take into account a range of work-related circumstances from both an organisational and individual viewpoint.

Individual family factors provide a contextual understanding of the reasons a family chooses to undertake the FIFO lifestyle, and how the structure and life stage of individual families can create unique challenges.

Fly In - Fly Out (FIFO)

The Australian mining industry consists of many different forms of principal ownership, each with its own set of organisational policies and practices that vary according to the mine location i.

Some of these factors are considered in this section in order to give a macro-level context to the experiences of FIFO workers and their families. Management of any company that utilises FIFO labour requires a level of expertise, specialist knowledge and skills that frequently go beyond those of a residential business operation located within a major city or regional centre Sibbel et al.

Management decisions can vary across a range of issues, such as:. The size of the organisation may also impact on the ability of companies to implement workplace policy that acknowledges and addresses the specific needs of FIFO workers and families. Hence, the individual experiences of FIFO workers and subsequently their families are in part influenced by the types of services that mining companies are able to provide.

Flexible work practices acknowledge that workers' personal circumstances can change over time as they move through different life stages i. Experts in the field indicate that flexible styles of management, for example the development of policies that meet the changing needs of FIFO workers, are more likely to retain employees than organisations that are inflexible Sibbel et al.

Inflexible workplace policies are more likely to impact on the FIFO worker's ability to respond to changing family needs, which in turn can affect a worker's level of focus at work.

Interviews conducted with Human Resource Managers across four mining sites revealed that while workplace policies vary from site to site, few companies promoted flexible policies around leave options, ability to work from home during a family crisis, or responsiveness to worker demands for shorter roster cycles Gallegos, Flexible workplace policies are important for all workers with families, however they are particularly salient for FIFO workers, who would benefit from having access to contingency plans that allow them to get home quickly in the event of a family emergency.

This type of provision would alleviate the level of stress associated with not knowing what plans could be put in place if such an emergency was to arise. Issues related to the workplace culture in a FIFO environment can have adverse impacts for FIFO employees and lead to higher workplace turnover and lower worker productivity Beach et al.

There are frequent references in the literature to workplace culture or attitudes that are linked to negative experiences for the FIFO worker, and these are outlined below. The literature strongly supports the notion that in FIFO workplaces, contract employees those employed by subcontractors to the mining industry are treated differently from employees directly hired by the mining operator.

Examples provided in the literature include contract employees being placed on longer rosters, allocated poorer standards of accommodation, expected to give up their seats on a flight home at the last minute, and receive fewer benefits Clifford, ; Gallegos, ; Sibbel et al.

In addition, the level of assistance provided to workers employed by companies that are contracted to mine operators is reported to be considerably less than that provided to employees of owner-operator companies Gallegos, Moreover, Beach et al. Heavy drinking has also been found to spill over to excessive drinking at home during the leave period Clifford, Drinking levels at the work site for this group of participants was found to be equal to or less than community samples, although the levels were still moderately risky for both short- and long-term harm.

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The reduced levels of alcohol consumption by workers during the work cycle may in part be attributed to limited leisure time, alcohol restrictions at the camp site, or the use of random breath testing that is conducted by some work sites.

It is important to note that while there is a reported culture of heavy drinking as a social outlet in some of the research, this is not a culture that all FIFO employees engage with.

Many FIFO workers choose not to drink, or not to indulge heavily, and even find the drinking culture exclusionary of those who do not drink Torkington et al. In a phenomenological account of FIFO workers and families conducted by Gallegosthere was a general consensus that heavy drinking at mine sites was a cultural aspect of FIFO that was improving.

Heavy drinking was a phenomenon that participants reported existed among young single workers, rather than people who were older and had family responsibilities. Hoath and Haslam McKenzie reported that the FIFO industry has taken considerable steps to limit alcohol consumption, with many work sites now dry and routine alcohol and drug tests undertaken. However, qualitative evidence indicated that the crackdown on use on site may lead to a higher consumption of alcohol when at home.

The methods by which workers coped with the FIFO lifestyle, and their willingness to seek help if difficulties arose, was outlined in a number of studies. One participant in a mental health survey conducted by Lifeline WA noted: "Well it's really just a case of suck it up princess, you just do it" Henry et al. In fact, an overall majority of the FIFO workers surveyed in this study indicated that they maintain this kind of approach to coping with difficulties faced as part of undertaking the FIFO lifestyle.

Day in a life FIFO pros and cons to make a decision

Participants particularly male workers were reported to have demonstrated poor insight into their own levels of stress and a general reluctance to seek support. Barriers to support seeking identified within this group included a culture of not discussing problems, fear of loss of employment if problems were openly discussed, embarrassment, and mistrust in those supports made available Henry et al. A culture of reluctance to seek support was also identified in a study conducted by Torkington et al.


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