Camp standards needed for worker comfort, health and safety
The Western Mine Workers Alliance (WMWA) has launched a campaign asking members to review and endorse a vision for a Code of Practice for WA FIFO Camp Standards, that supports worker comfort, health and safety.
Members are being asked to sign a pledge which will support the WMWA’s efforts calling for a Code of Practice, to make ‘best practice’ for camp standards the norm, not an exception for a lucky few.
In 2022, the WMWA surveyed over 700 WA mineworkers on their views on camp standards. The survey revealed that three-quarters rated their camp as poor and there was near universal support for minimum standards across the industry.
Additionally, feedback from respondents reveals that most workers in the Pilbara are living in camps that are substandard in one or more important areas.
Following the survey, the WMWA met with the WA Government regarding developing a Code of Practice for WA FIFO Camp Accommodation and Security.
The WA Resources Minister has now directed WHS commission and Mining and Petroleum Advisory Committee (MAPAC) to consider development of a Code.
WMWA has a seat on MAPAC and is advocating for development of a FIFO Camp Code in the interests of our members.
This is an important step to improve WA FIFO Camp Standards, but we need members to get on board with the campaign and show their support for a Code of Practice by signing the pledge.
A fortunate minority of workers in the industry enjoy camp facilities that support their comfort, safety and physical and mental health.
But it’s not good enough for our mining companies to have one or two flagship camps that they promote in glossy brochures while most of their workers stay in cramped tin cabins down the road.
Many thousands of workers fly into the Pilbara each week, spending more time in remote workers’ camps than at home with their families.
Their hard work contributes directly to the enormous profits of companies like BHP and Rio Tinto – and the rivers of gold that pour into state coffers.
WA FIFO workers deserve to have their living conditions in camp backed up by legislated minimum industry standards in areas like food, recreation, safety and access to medical facilities.
We need a code that takes a broad approach to workers’ wellbeing and makes ‘best practice’ the norm across the industry, not the exception for a lucky few.
Any code for FIFO camp standards must be regarded by industry as the minimum requirement, providing a floor below which camp amenities must not drop.
The WMWA has heard from our members that enforced minimum standards are necessary to lift the conditions of camps and improve worker wellbeing.