They’re the big four issues raised by mining workers across the country: missing family events; staying
connected to the kids; workplace mental health; and keeping the home fires burning.
Ahead of AIMEX – Asia-Pacific’s International Mining Exhibition 2017 at the Sydney Showgrounds next
week, the Mining Family Matters team is offering professional tips and practical advice for dealing with
these four common challenges.
Mining Family Matters co-founder Alicia Ranford has chatted with thousands of miners since first
attending AIMEX in 2011, and believes the most important message for workers is that they’re not alone
in finding the lifestyle tough sometimes.
Expert advice on key issues raised by mining workers doing FIFO or DIDO shifts – as outlined in
MiningFM’s award-winning Survival Guide for Mining Families – includes:
1. Missing big family events: Remember there’s no law that says major birthdays, anniversaries or
even your family Christmas need to be celebrated on any given day (or can’t be celebrated
twice). If you feel sad or anxious, get it off your chest by talking to a trusted friend or family
member so your children don’t “wear” your unhappiness. On big days that you’re apart, be kind
to yourselves and each other.
2. Staying connected to the kids: Young children can be very literal, so replace phrases like “going
away” with “going to work”. On the phone, replace uninspiring questions (“How was your day?”)
with open, informed queries (“How’d you go in the spelling test?” or “What made you laugh
today?”). Be present when you’re home – drive your children to school and to sport. Stay in
touch with teenagers through text messages and social media. Don’t use working away as an
excuse to be disconnected.
3. Workplace mental health: Set strong goals that will keep you focussed in challenging times. Stay
healthy with smart food choices and decent sleep. Encourage a similar focus on mental health
as physical health in the workplace. Remember that depression and anxiety are common and
can be treated, while skills can also be learnt to manage stress. Take advantage of confidential
Employee Assistance Programs.
4. Keeping the home fires burning: Remember that life is not a competition – you’re both
exhausted! Regularly reassess how you’re coping and be proactive with support systems like a
gardener, cleaner or grandparents to babysit to give you both a break. Be open and honest.
Discuss issues as a team (replace “How are YOU going to fix this?” with “What can WE do?”)
Mining Family Matters has also teamed up with Wesley LifeForce to offer a series of programs aimed at
boosting workplace resilience and mental health among mining workers, as well as improving
communication techniques for key team members who find themselves in “accidental counseling” roles.
You’ll find the Mining Family Matters team on Stand 3314 throughout AIMEX 2017, running from August
29-31 at the Sydney Showground.
“We love attending AIMEX because Reed Mining Events is so committed to supporting the mining
industry at all levels,” Ms Ranford says.
“It’s uplifting to chat with people from right across the mining industry spectrum, from company heads
and mine managers to human resources representatives and workers out on site.”
The Mining Family Matters website www.miningfm.com.au was launched in February 2010 to support
families in mining, oil and gas. Now featuring 1500 pages of professional advice and practical strategies
for families, workers and jobseekers, the website attracts thousands of readers every month.
Mining Families Matters also publishes The Survival Guide for Mining Families and the generic Working
Away Guide for employees who travel for work in any industry, with nearly 150,000 copies sold to
companies across Australia in recent years.