Australian fly-in, fly-out operations: Impacts on communities, safety workers and their families
- Australia’s mineral, resource and infrastructure sectors continues to expand as operations in rural and remote locations increasingly rely on fly-in, fly-out or drive-in, drive-out workforces in order to become economically competitive. The issues in employing these workforces are becoming more apparent and include a range of physical, mental, psychosocial, safety and community challenges.
- This review aims to consolidate a range of research conducted to communicate potential challenges for industry in relation to a wide variety of issues when engaging and using FIFO/DIDO workforces which includes roster design, working hours, fatigue, safety performance, employee wellbeing, turnover, psychosocial relationships and community concerns.
- A wide literature review was performed using EBSCOhost and Google Scholar, with a focus on FIFO or DIDO workforces engaged within the resources sector.
- A number of existing gaps in the management of FIFO workforces and potential for future research were identified. This included the identification of various roster designs and hours worked across the resources industry and how to best understand the influences of roster swings, and work hours on fatigue, safety, psychological wellbeing and job satisfaction. Fatigue management, particularly in relation to travelling after extended work shifts can increase the risk for road safety and influence safety performance while at work due to a culmination of long hours, roster cycle and accumulated sleep debt. Further challenges associated with the engagement of this workforce include feelings of isolation, physiological and general health and lifestyle concerns.
- FIFO workforces appear to be at an increased risk physically and mentally due to a wide range of influences of this unique lifestyle, particularly in relation to rosters, length of shift and feelings of community disengagement. Research and data collected has been limited in understanding the influences on employee engagement, satisfaction, retention and safety. Ensuring the challenges associated with FIFO employment are understood, addressed and communicated to workers and their families may assist.
Impact and interest:
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