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23 July 2018

Healthy outlook for the Australian petroleum industry

At ExxonMobil, the health and wellbeing of our workforce is our number one priority. It is for this reason that the organisation is pleased with the results detailed in the latest Health Watch Report, which revealed that petroleum industry employees have better health than the general Australian community.

The 15th Health Watch study is part of an ongoing Monash University Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health research program which looks at more than 20,000 people who have worked in the Australian petroleum industry in order to ascertain cancer risk and causes of death, before comparing these findings to the overall Australian community. 

As one of the Australian petroleum industry’s largest employers, ExxonMobil Australia has sponsored the study since 1980 via the Australian Institute of Petroleum and provided significant amounts of employee data which helped bolster the research.

As detailed in the 14 previous Health Watch reports, the chance of developing most types of cancer is no different for men and women in this industry compared with other Australians. Where cancers and deaths do occur, the overall death rates for men and women in the petroleum industry workforce are 20 percent lower than the national rates. 

Within the industry, the chance of dying or of contracting cancer or heart disease are not elevated based on where they work, be it upstream production sites, refineries, fuel terminals or airports. 

Dr Marcus Hirschfield, Manager - Medicine and Occupational Health at ExxonMobil Australia said the results of the report reinforced the company’s, and the greater industry, efforts in looking after its workers.

“I am proud to say that health and safety are not just buzzwords at ExxonMobil and we take our roles as employee caretakers as seriously as we do our role in producing world-class energy solutions.

“This occurs via extensive exposure and health monitoring programs. We also provide employees with access to health information, which they are encouraged to take home and share with their families. It is pleasing to see that similar initiatives are being undertaken across the industry as well,” said Dr Hirschfield.

As an industry, there is still more we can do particularly in combatting the impact that smoking is having on our employees, as it is estimated that smoking has played a part in around 50 percent of deaths among Health Watch members who smoke, Dr Hirschfield said.

“It’s important that we continue to look for ways to improve the health of our workers at a holistic level and locally we will continue to invest in programs that support the well-being of our employees at work and at home,” he said.

The latest Health Watch Report is available at https://aip.com.au/programs/health-watch

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