Resources companies found wanting on mental health and wellbeing

Tuesday, 28 February, 2017 - 11:00
Industry news


Companies in the Western Australia’s resources sector need to improve on a number of fronts when it comes to the mental health and wellbeing of staff, according to the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP).

It recently conducted an audit of more than 140 companies, reviewing management systems, resourcing, consultation and the preventative measures put in place to protect staff’s mental health and wellbeing.

The department collected information from 126 companies involved in mining operations and 17 operators of petroleum and major hazard facilities, analysing the results against four key criteria:

  • Management systems that address mental wellbeing
  • Resourcing of systems relating to mental wellbeing
  • Consultation with workforce on mental wellbeing strategies
  • Preventative and protective measures in place.

 While the department acknowledged the complexity of psychosocial harms, it was important to address the risks within an overall safety and health management system, said DMP resources safety executive director Simon Ridge.

“The objective of this initial audit program was to establish a baseline against which to measure future progress in mental health risk management in the Western Australia’s resources sector,” Ridge said.

“Risks to psychological and physical health due to work should be viewed in the same manner as other workplace risks.

The results from this initial audit program has shown that there are areas for improvement across the four key criteria, however the most significant area for improvement is in the level of consultation with the workforce on mental health and wellbeing strategies.

The audit results found that fewer small operations met the intent of the criteria for management systems and resourcing of those systems, and having preventative and protective measures in place.

Regardless of size, about 70 to 80 per cent of operations did not yet meet the criteria intent for consultation with the workforce.

“It is important that the prevention of work related stressors are incorporated into all health and safety procedures and these results have shown that there is still much to be done in this space as well,” Ridge said.