About the initiatives
Downer Mining has been successfully delivering contract mining and civil earthmoving services to an impressive list of global clients for over 90 years. It is now one of Australia’s leading mining contractors, with around 4,000 employees working across more than 50 sites in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, South America and Southern Africa.
Zero harm to its people is Downer Mining's number one value, and the company recognises the importance of taking a holistic approach to enhancing the physical and mental health of its workforce.
Downer Mining identified the need for research to understand the nature and scope of mental health issues within its workforce as an important step in creating and supporting a mentally healthy workplace.
Some key initiatives include:
- the introduction of a research and development program, in collaboration with the Workforce Health Innovation research group at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), to address information gaps. A number of activities have been implemented through this program to gain a better understanding of the health status of the workforce; for example, a range of surveys that provide knowledge of how work and lifestyle behaviours may link with priority health conditions, such as mental health. This information has been used to guide interventions designed to prevent and manage these conditions and improve psychological well-being
- implementation of major health promotion campaigns linked to the priority health areas, including mental health, which are providing continuing support in raising awareness and understanding of these conditions and their prevention among the workforce
- appointing two full-time registered psychologists to provide more proactive direct mental health support for employees
- raising awareness of the company’s employee assistance program (EAP) by providing employees with EAP information cards
- participation in national events, such as Movember and Stress Down Day. Participation in Stress Down Day in the corporate office was in response to survey findings that highlighted workplace pressures or stresses as a significant issue for staff at this location.
How the initiatives came about
Due to the psychosocial demands often experienced in the mining industry and the increasing rate of mental health conditions, Downer Mining recognised that employees may need continuing support to cope with their work and lifestyle, and to prevent the development of psychosocial problems. The significance of this need is confirmed by data within the industry, which shows that the prevalence of mental health conditions is increasing and may impact on other chronic health conditions.