Multiple health-related behaviours among Fly-In Fly-Out workers in the mining industry in Australia: A cross-sectional survey during the COVID-19 pandemic

Bernard Yeboah Asiamah Asare* (Corresponding Author), Elizabeth Thomas, Jacquita S. Affandi, Myles Schammer, Chris Harris, Dominika Kwasnicka, Daniel Powell, Christopher M. Reid, Suzanne Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Fly-In-Fly-Out (FIFO) workers travel to work at isolated locations, and rotate continuous workdays with leave periods at home, and such work practice is common in the offshore oil and gas and onshore mining industry worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying public health actions appear to have had a negative impact on several health-related behaviours among the general population. However, little is known about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health behaviours of FIFO workers, who have shown higher pre-pandemic rates of risky behaviours than the general population in Australia. This study examined the health-related behaviours of FIFO workers in the mining industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted. FIFO workers from an Australian mining company who underwent COVID-19 screening between May and November 2020 completed an online survey about their regular health-related behaviours. The independent sample t-test and Pearson's chi-square test where appropriate were conducted to examine the differences between males and females for the behavioural outcomes. RESULTS: A total of 768 FIFO workers (633 males and 135 females) participated in the study. Prevalence of smoking was high (32%). Males smoked more cigarettes per day than females (15.2±7.0 vs 13.1±7.1, p = .174). Most participants (74.7%) drank alcohol on more than two days per week. Compared to females, more males (20.2% vs 8.0%) consumed alcohol at short-term harmful levels (p = .010). About a third (34.4%) of the workers (33.5% of males and 38.5% of females, p = .264) engaged in inadequate moderate-vigorous exercises/physical activity. About a third (33.1%) of workers (33.7% of males and 30.4% of females; p = .699) had multiple risk behaviours. CONCLUSIONS: Prevalence of multiple risk behaviours was high. Interventions aimed at the prevention of risky health-related behaviours should target the different behavioural patterns and may require emphasis on gender-informed techniques particularly when addressing alcohol consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0275008
Number of pages15
JournalPloS ONE
Volume17
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2022

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