AN Australian Pipeline Industry Association (APIA)-commissioned report into Australia’s fly-in fly-out workers servicing pipeline and gas projects has helped form the basis for a set of guidelines to assist the industry group in managing worker’s health and fatigue.

The ground-breaking study, conducted by TMS Consulting, found the changing roster cycle of FIFO workers in the pipeline industry would not fix fatigue, but there was high value in individuals paying greater attention to health regimes.

APIA chief executive Cheryl Cartwright said most companies in the sector provided a healthy and safe workplace for employees.

“What the study found was that it is not enough to focus on the length of a FIFO roster as the major contributor to a FIFO worker’s health issues, but that there are a range of factors,” she said.

“Trying to define one factor such as roster scheduling as a main culprit behind poor health and fatigue is too simplistic.”

The TMS study was thorough and academically assessed, both in terms of study design and research outcomes, and it identified numerous aspects of health and the work environment that should be addressed.

“Importantly, the TMS study highlighted that a holistic view should be taken of the factors that contribute to fatigue among FIFO workers,” Ms Cartwright said.

“TMS found that it was not the length of the FIFO shift that directly contributed to fatigue levels but rather a combination of factors within the work environment, such that education about healthy eating and sleeping habits should now be of primary concern in mitigating health and fatigue risks.”

APIA fully supports in its new guidelines to members that FIFO workers be encouraged personally to consider their health choices and to achieve appropriate sleep in order to perform their tasks efficiently and safely, a recommendation made by TMS.

Ms Cartwright said the APIA guidelines would further support members with best practice approaches to fatigue management.

APIA is the peak body representing Australasia’s pipeline infrastructure, with a focus on gas transmission, but also including transportation of other products, such as oil, water, slurry and carbon dioxide.