Shift workers are at heightened risk for drowsiness as they attempt to sleep when the brain is promoting (daytime) and attempt to remain awake when the brain is promoting sleep (night-time). Driving right after night-shift work puts drivers as well as other road users at elevated risk of motor vehicle crashes. [1] Fatigue becomes a risk factor in all trips during normal sleep times, or any time the driver has previously been deprived of sleep. [4] Studies have shown night shift workers often express having problems with their sleep, such as poor sleep quality, short sleep periods, and insomnia symptoms. One of the most frequent complaints is the inability to achieve adequate amounts of sleep during the day following a night shift, preventing a full recovery. [5]

Night-shift workers usually report poor sleep and insomnia. A survey in Canada revealed 34% of shift workers report sleep difficulties compared to 25% of the daytime workers. Studies have found it is common for workers on irregular schedules to skip a night of sleep and spend more than 20 hours without sleep. Additionally, when sleep restriction accumulates over consecutive days, large sleep deficits may cause acute or chronic fatigue and sleepiness, especially if sufficient time is not allowed for recovery. [5]

The talk features interviews with drivers from Bingo, Holcim and and Toll. Each give their own tips and stories about managing shift work, but ultimately they share the same message: the importance of looking after yourself.

A fact sheet, poster, facilitator guide, overview and PowerPoint are also included. The fact sheets are available in three different versions, depending on the audience. One is targeted towards drivers, one towards companies and the other includes all the information.

The Toolbox Talk is designed to be flexible so your organisation can present or distribute it as you see fit.

The package was peer reviewed by industry experts to ensure it is relevant, accurate and delivered in a way that will engage drivers. This information is sourced from a combination of industry bodies and scholarly texts.

The HVTBT project is delivered thanks to key funding provided through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative, supported by the federal government.

NRSPP thanks its industry working group, which consists of BINGO Industries, ComfortDelGro Australia, Heavy Vehicle Association of Australia, Holcim, Monash University Accident Research Centre, Qube, Swinburne University, Toll Global Express, Toll Group, Viva Energy and Zurich Insurance.

To download the full pack, visit Heavy Vehicles >> Toolbox Talks >> Shift Work