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‘Rocks Solid’ mental health focus in the mining sector

15 October 2015    


National Safe Work Month – keeping South Australian miners safe at work

The mining and resources industry brings to mind some obvious physical workplace dangers, but the sector also faces a serious and seemingly invisible threat: increasing rates of worker depression and suicide.

This issue is on the National Safe Work Month agenda with a safety seminar, at Port Pirie TAFE tomorrow (October 21) hosted by the Mining and Quarrying Occupational Health and Safety Committee (MAQOHSC).

Earlier this year the MAQOHSC introduced a pilot program with Family Matters and Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Networks and this will at the centre of tomorrow’s session.

“Depression and suicide is increasingly an issue of concern, particularly in relation to fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) workers,” said MAQOHSC Executive Director Leonie Caldarelli.

Earlier this year the issue prompted a Western Australian Parliamentary Inquiry following at least nine known deaths of workers in the Pilbara alone.
The majority of suicides occur in the 15 to 44 year old age bracket, coinciding with the average age of FIFO workers at 38 years old.

Risk factors for people who work in the mining and resources sector include social isolation, shift work, family and relationship stress and being exposed to high-risk on-the-job activities such as underground mining and blasting.

“The Rocks Solid Suicide Prevention Program is helping workers and their families to prevent suicide and provides practical strategies to boost emotional wellbeing,” said Ms Caldarelli.

“In addition to a 32-page information and strategy booklet, the program offers workshops designed to assist key staff and supervisors with effective interventions that can make a real difference to workers.”

“This proactive approach by industry will reduce workplace stress and absenteeism and assist in reducing the devastating impacts of workers’ stress and suicide.’’

The Mining and Quarrying Work Health and Safety Seminar will also cover the myriad of mining hazards, dangerous substances and ways to address environmental hazards such as dust.

Where to get help

beyondblue info line 1300 224 636
Mensline Australia 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Lifeline 13 11 14

To see the full of SafeWork SA’s National Safety Month program visit safework.sa.gov.au


For more information
Catherine Bauer, Hughes Public Relations
(P) 8412 4100 or (M) 0420 529 027.