You are starting to feel veerryy sleepy...

Fatigue management in the workplace

Yawning or rubbing your eyes? Trouble keeping your head up? Or drifting from your lane? I hope you’re not driving.

Safe Work Australia defines fatigue as a “…state of mental and/or physical exhaustion which impacts on and reduces an individuals’ ability to work safely and effectively.” When driving fatigued you are 3x more likely to be involved in a road crash. In fact, being awake for 17 hours is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.05%! Doesn’t sound like something you’d like your employees to be doing, and it sure doesn’t meet safety compliance standards.

I could go on with more scary statistics but the most important steps from now is what you can do about it.

The only cure for fatigue – sleep

Fatigue related driving incidents are something we all want to avoid and unfortunately when it comes down to it, sleep is really the only cure to fatigue. But like all medicine, we need to ensure we get the correct dosage and support our recovery with changes in lifestyle and other treatments.

So, let’s get that prescription ready!

How long you need to sleep varies from person to person, however, most adults should aim for seven to eight hours sleep every night. If we don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, we get what's known as a sleep debt leading to guess what? Fatigue.

How fatigued are you? Get your score by trying our interactive fatigue assessment below:

Your treatment plan

Whilst managing fatigue is a shared responsibility for both management and workers, businesses have a legal duty of care to do so.

For managers, there are two key areas to focus on: scheduling and risk assessment

1. Scheduling

We can look at the safety standards under the Fair Work Act 2009 to have suitable scheduling practices. Shift length must be kept to a maximum of 18 hours with at least 10 hours free of duty following the shift.  Within the week, it is also important to have a ‘circadian adjustment’ period of two-three days to allow recovery. If the workload is not lessened during this period, the effects of fatigue will build up, potentially carrying over to future journeys. During a journey, a short break every 2 hours through check-in points helps to ensure your employees continue to stay refreshed on long drives.

2. Risk Assessments

Risk assessments allow you to be proactive, not reactive, and are critical in avoiding fatigue-related driving incidents. SafetyIQ’s Fatigue Management Module includes driving risk assessments and a cognitive test that identifies when a worker is fatigued. This provides a proactive approach by allowing you to identify high-risk individuals and check-in with them before an accident occurs. Unlike other fatigue assessments, the system develops a personal baseline for each user, ensuring results are accurate and reflect their average performance.

Preparing and executing a fatigue management system may sound tedious and costly, but it doesn’t have to be. If you would like to learn more about how SafetyIQ helps with managing fatigue, please contact us today or try our Interactive Fatigue Assessment.


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