Inpex FIFO suicide sparks call for action
Summary: THE suicide of another fly-in fly-out Inpex worker has reignited calls for the Northern Territory to adopt a formal code of practice to regulate conditions for workers.....
Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union state organiser Grant Harradine said too many lives had been lost because of the demands placed on workers. Mr Harradine said the worker’s death was the ninth on the Inpex project. Long hours and a pressure cooker environment in camp took a heavy toll on workers’ mental health, he said.
Four weeks on, one week off rostering left some workers feeling isolated.
A 2015 parliamentary inquiry in Western Australia found 30 per cent of FIFO workers had mental health problems, well above the national average of 20 per cent.
Some of the inquiry’s recommendations included implementing a Code of Practice for FIFO work to encourage even-time rostering, fatigue management, awareness of mental health and access to quality communication services.
Health Minister Natasha Fyles said she was “deeply troubled” by the worker’s death.
“Every suicide is a tragedy and the rates we have in the NT are unacceptable,” she said.
But Ms Fyles said national workplace health and safety legislation meant the Territory was unable to go it alone in introducing codes of practice.
“The development of legislation to reduce suicides needs to be nationally consistent,” she said. “NT WorkSafe is collaborating with the other jurisdictions to develop national guides with respect to psychosocial issues in the workplace which will include FIFO workers.” But Mr Harradine said there were options open to the Territory to begin the process at a local level.
“There’s no harm in kicking something off and trying to implement it for themselves,” he said.
Ms Fyles said a suicide prevention committee was working on a strategy which would be finalised by the end of the year.
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If the situation is urgent and you’re concerned you, or someone else, is in immediate danger do not leave the person alone, unless you are concerned for your own safety.
Call the person’s doctor, a mental health crisis service or dial 000 and say that the person’s life is at risk.
If the person agrees, you could go together to the local hospital emergency department for assessment.
Other services include:
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
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