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TRAINED TO KEEP

FIFO MINE WORKERS SAFE From drug and alcohol problems to fatigue-related injuries, from mental health concerns to STIs, the issues reported as affecting fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) and drive-in, drive-out (DIDO) workers in the resources industries are numerous and complex.

W

hile the perks of a high-paying job have lured in workers from the cities, the realities of life on the ground in remote areas have proven to be extremely challenging for some employees. The House of Representatives’ Standing Committee on Regional Australia released a report in 2013 after looking into the use of FIFO and DIDO workforce practices in regional Australia. Throughout the inquiry, the committee heard frequent claims about the health impacts of FIFO work, many found to be directly linked to the social isolation of the FIFO experience. The committee found that a common concern for FIFO workers was an excessive consumption of alcohol and other substances. This has prompted many mine sites to implement drug and alcohol testing programs to ensure the safety of the site is maintained.

Case study: Training for in-house drug and alcohol testing procedures Located at a remote site in the Northern Territory, OM (Manganese) Ltd has recently made improvements to its in-house drug

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and alcohol testing regime for FIFO workers returning from their leave breaks. In order to ensure all its staff were adequately and consistently trained in the correct drug and alcohol testing in-house procedures and that an unimpeachable chain of custody process was maintained, OM (Manganese) Health, Safety, Environment and Community Manager Paul McHugh called on the expertise of Adept Training. McHugh points out that while it is a concern that personnel might return to site under the influence, this was an unusual occurrence. He said the rationale for completing the course was to ensure that proper procedures were employed with respect to collecting and sending samples away for confirmatory testing, so that any disciplianary action for non-negative results would be fair. Adept Training Business Manager Ros Christopoulos has worked in the area of drug and alcohol testing over many years, both as a healthcare worker and an on-site tester. She was able to travel to the site to provide the training requirements requested by McHugh. This not only provided a clear cost saving in terms

Profile for Westwick-Farrow Media

Safety Solutions Apr/May 2015  

Launched in April 2003, this bi-monthly magazine provides vital information on safety products and services in the industrial, construction,...

Safety Solutions Apr/May 2015  

Launched in April 2003, this bi-monthly magazine provides vital information on safety products and services in the industrial, construction,...