Fly-in fly-out and family life: observations from an Australian remote mine site

Pfaffl, M., McShane, C.J., and Kanakis, K. (2015) Fly-in fly-out and family life: observations from an Australian remote mine site. In: Abstracts from the 7th Sustainable Development in the Minerals Industry Conference. From: SDMI 2015: 7th Sustainable Development in the Minerals Industry Conference, 13-15 July 2015, Vancouver, Canada.

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Working environments can be challenging at the best of times. Those work environments in more geographically remote locations present additional challenges to worker wellbeing. One of these challenges is that the worker is often separated from home and family for periods of time. This study sought to identify factors of living and working in a remote settlement that positively and negatively impacted mine workers. Participants were employees from an underground mine site in western Queensland that uses an entirely FIFO workforce. The study involved a focus group and semi-structured individual interviews. There were a total of 16 participants (13 male, three female). Findings indicated that perceived control or accessibility, family separation and social capital were the most predominant reported influences on individual feelings of remoteness. Perceptions of control were altered by the availability of transport and telecommunication services at the mine site and if this availability was consistent with expectations of availability. These perceptions of control were often cited as important as they represented connection to family. Family separation and the associated guilt of working in an industry that induced this separation presented additional challenges to individual and family satisfaction. Separation and guilt were reported barriers to readjustment to family life. However these challenges within the work and home environment were more likely to be managed if individuals had supportive work and home environments as well as a perceived connectedness to work, community and place. Building workers' resilience within the FIFO context may be achieved with limited but targeted intervention efforts. Specifically, increasing the availability of services that increases perceived accessibility to family and personal life may increase worker perceived control within the workplace and cohesiveness within the family environment. These factors in turn may enhance job and life satisfaction, decreasing risk of poor mental health outcomes and creating stability within the organisational environment.

Item ID: 40253
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2015 03:49
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology @ 60%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920504 Occupational Health @ 100%
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