A third of fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) resource workers experience high levels of psychological distress, a survey has found.

Experts at Curtin University have studied the mental health and wellbeing of FIFO workers, making 18 recommendations for workers suffering from mental health issues.

The researchers surveyed 3,000 FIFO workers, 400 partners and 300 former FIFO workers, and specifically tracked the experiences of 200 FIFO workers during their work rosters.

It found FIFO workers were “clearly at risk” of mental health issues. A total of 33 per cent experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress, compared to just 17 per cent among non-FIFO workers.

The report calls for shorter work rosters, permanent rooms at housing camps, efforts to reduce the stigma of mental health, support programs, training for leaders and providing reliable communications for workers to talk to their loved ones.

The WA Government says the study shows that if the sector does not improve its practices, it could be forced to make a currently voluntary code of conduct mandatory.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook said legislation is still possible.

“If in the community's mind they aren't taking the necessary actions to create safe workplaces, mentally safe workplaces for their workers, well then it will be the requirement for the Government to legislate,” he said.