Health and related behaviours of fly-in fly-out workers in the mining industry in Australia: a cross-sectional study

Bernard Yeboah-Asiamah Asare* (Corresponding Author), Suzanne Robinson, Daniel Powell, Dominika Kwasnicka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Fly-In Fly-Out (FIFO), which entails travelling mostly from the urban areas to stay and work in remote areas for designated periods and travel back home to spend designated days of leave, has become a common work arrangement in the mining sector globally. This study examined the mental and physical health of FIFO workers and described their health-related behaviours during on-and off-shift periods.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted with FIFO workers (N = 216) in the mining industry in Australia who completed an online survey. Paired t-test and McNemer's analysis examined the differences in health-related behaviours during workers' on-and off-shift days. Logistic regression examined the predictors of physical health and psychological distress status of FIFO workers.

RESULTS: Workers reported longer sleep duration (7.5 ± 1.5 h vs 6.3 ± 1.2 h, p < 0.001) and better sleep quality (78.2% vs 46.3%, p < 0.001) during off-shift nights than on on-shift nights. Smoking prevalence was 26.4%, and workers reported smoking a similar number of cigarettes per day during on-and off-shift days. Most workers reported drinking alcohol (86.1%) and more often at risky levels during off-shift than on-shift days (57.9% vs 34.3%, p < 0.001). Fruits and vegetable consumption was low but with higher vegetable intake during off-shift days (2.8 ± 1.4 vs 2.3 ± 1.3 serves, p < 0.001). Workers had good physical health status (91.2%), but 71.4% were overweight/obese and 33.4% indicated high levels of psychological distress. Working on long shifts (OR 6.63, 95% CI 1.84-23.91) and smoking (OR 7.17, 95% CI 2.67-19.26) were linked to high psychological distress.

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of psychological distress and risky health behaviours was high. Interventions should aim to reduce psychological distress and support multiple behaviour changes, considering FIFO work-related characteristics including long shift hours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-120
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Early online date25 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Psychological distress
  • Physical health
  • FIFO
  • Mining
  • Health behaviours
  • Australia


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