FIFO miners warned of "smorgasbord syndrome"

WOULD-be miners keen to try the fly-in, fly-out lifestyle are being warned about "smorgasbord syndrome", a label given to the endless canteen buffet available for transient workers.

FIFO workers are being used across Central Queensland's coal mines and increasingly to build gas projects in the state's south-west gas fields.

The term is used in a booklet released by the Queensland Resources Council and the University of Queensland's Centre for Responsibility in Mining to help those new to the industry.

Aside from dealing with risks posed by over-eating, the guide also tells workers they may grapple with loneliness and isolation in the new role.

Research from Curtin University has suggested up to 44% of FIFO mine workers could be overweight.

CSRM researcher and booklet co-author Mary-Anne Barclay said the offer of a food smorgasbord for workers was "absolutely" an issue.

"This just represents a form of temptation," she said.

Ms Barclay said companies were now starting to provide healthier options so there was still a choice available.

"However, they still offer chips for those who don't care.

"If you've had a rough day and you see a serve of hot chips or a slab of cheesecake - we're all tempted by that."

Ms Barclay said for some people, the FIFO life would be unbearable, for others it will be temporary and for many it will be one they can enjoy.

The Guidance for Long-Distance Commuting (FIFO/DIDO) Workers booklet can be read at

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