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Mining companies need to address employee health

7 October 2011 - 4:35pm

Whilst there has been a wealth of discussion surrounding the impact of the mining boom on the economy, the health and wellbeing of miners on the front line isn't as widely discussed.

A recent article in Mining Australia examined the issues faced by employees in the mining sector and called for more awareness surrounding mental health.

The report cited figures from health insurance provider Medibank Health Solutions, which revealed that one in three workers in regional and rural areas felt the need to take a day off every few months due to stress, anxiety and depression.

Medibank also determined that if left untreated, employee depression can cost an organisation $9660 annually per staff member.

In addition, 80 per cent of employees believed that regional areas lacked proper support systems.

The news is likely to cause many companies in the resource sector to evaluate their business health plans.

Recent spikes in mining activity are predicted to speed up the economic growth of the country, however businesses may choose to try and put measures in place to reduce the negative impact on the workforce.

Workplace safety will always be more than a matter of protecting employees from harm - addressing mental health issues forms a key component of any staff wellbeing strategy.