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Greater personal health focus needed; not FIFO roster changes [APIA PRESS RELEASE]

There is no need to change the roster cycle of Australia’s fly-in fly-out workers servicing new pipeline and gas projects, but there is value in individuals paying greater attention to health regimes, an industry association says.  

The encouragement for an improved attitude to health comes from the Australian Pipeline Industry Association which commissioned TMS Consulting to conduct a study into gas-pipeline-construction related work practices.

The ground-breaking study outcomes have provided the basis for the Association’s new guidelines to assist in managing FIFO workers’ health and fatigue.

“Most companies in the sector provide a healthy and safe workplace for employees,” APIA Chief Executive, Ms Cheryl Cartwright, said today.

“What the study found was that it is not the length of a FIFO roster that contributes to a FIFO work’s health issues but a range of factors.

“Trying to define one factor such as roster scheduling as a main culprit behind poor health and fatigue is too simplistic.”

The TMS study was thorough and academically assessed, both in terms of study design and research outcomes, and it identified numerous aspects of health and the work environment that should be addressed.

“Importantly, the TMS study highlighted that a holistic view should be taken of the factors that contribute to fatigue among FIFO workers,” Ms Cartwright said. “TMS found that it was not the length of the FIFO shift that directly contributed to fatigue levels but rather a combination of factors within the work environment, such that education about healthy eating and sleeping habits should now be of primary concern in mitigating health and fatigue risks.

“TMS recommended, and the APIA fully supports in our new guidelines to members, that FIFO workers be encouraged personally to consider their health choices and to achieve appropriate sleep in order to perform their tasks efficiently and safely.”

Ms Cartwright said many worksites banned alcohol and most provided healthy food options and a safe – although remotely located – workplace. The new APIA guidelines would further help streamline and standardise the provision of healthy and safe workplaces.

This press release was distributed by the Australian Pipeline Industry Association (APIA).

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Jo Bagg