Improving the FIFO Life

  • Research
  • Engagement
  • Communications
  • Andrew Watt

Turning work camps into thriving communities

The challenge

We worked with BHP to look at ways to improve life at its FIFO accommodation sites at nine iron ore mines in remote Western Australia. The sites on average house more than 5,600 workers on any given day, and BHP wanted to create villages with a sense of community from what were considered more as work camps. A key part of the upgrade was improving the quality of meals and providing better opportunities for social engagement between workers.

BHP engaged Creating Communities to do research into each village’s facilities and services and to survey workers on what they wanted at each site.

The outcomes

We created a comprehensive research and engagement process, including a literature review, resident surveys and interviews, focus groups, on-site observations, interviews with village staff and independent contractors. As a result BHP brought in food specialists Future Foods to design changes to the menus at their FIFO villages. BHP has also included the need for village vendors to create more of a ‘home away from home’ as one of the key elements of their contracts. Creating Communities was subsequently contracted to undertake a similar process for BHP’s Olympic Dam operations in South Australia.

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