Health Promotion Journal of Australia Health Promotion Journal of Australia Society
Journal of the Australian Health Promotion Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Does on-site chaplaincy enhance the health and well being of fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) personnel?

Angela Ebert A and Karin Strehlow B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Health Professions, Counselling, Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

B Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre, Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: k.strehlow@murdoch.edu.au

Health Promotion Journal of Australia 28(2) 118-122 https://doi.org/10.1071/HE16019
Submitted: 14 March 2016  Accepted: 17 August 2016   Published: 6 October 2016

Abstract

Issue addressed: The fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) work style has been linked to mental-health and interpersonal issues and a need for strategies that maintain a healthy workforce. This study investigated whether 24/7 on-site chaplains deliver a service that promotes the health and well being of FIFO personnel.

Methods: A phenomenological approach was used to explore the perceptions of FIFO personnel working in different roles and organisational sections on a remote mine site in Western Australia. Multi-pronged strategies recruited 29 participants who represented management, supervisors, workers and support staff. Participants took part in semistructured interviews conducted either one-on-one or in pairs.

Results: Chaplains were described as making a valuable contribution to the physical and mental health of FIFO personnel. Specific aspects of the service such as active outreach, effective trust building and the on-site availability were identified as central to the service being accessed and overcoming barriers embedded in mining culture and masculinity.

Conclusions: On-site chaplaincy appears to be effective in promoting the physical and mental health of FIFO personnel working at a remote mine site.

So what?: This promising model of active on-site outreach offered by chaplains is set apart from existing FIFO support structures. We recommend further exploration of its potential to become part of an integrated health-support system in the mining sector and other industries.

Key words: men’s health, mental health, workplaces.


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