Overview Of Package

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]

This package contains:

  • A generic overview of Toolbox Talk Discussion and how it can be applied to work driving safety, including a step by step process to assist team leaders/managers and facilitators to lead a Toolbox Talk discussion.

  • Aid for the promotion of discussion

  • Topic background information and fact sheet x3

  • Discussion prompt sheet

  • Participant attendance record sheet

  • Participant self-assessment sheet

  • Discussion review sheet

  • Shift Work poster

  • Supporting PowerPoint Slides

  • Shift Work video (access video here or contact NRSPP to download)

Author Acknowledgement

This Toolbox Talk has been developed in collaboration with Jerome Carslake (NRSPP), Jennifer Rivera-Gonzalez (MUARC), Kyla Fantin (NRSPP Swinburne Intern 2021/22), Ruby Athanas (NRSPP Swinburne Intern 2021/22),  Tim Roberts (FleetStrategy).

Toolbox Talks Branding, marketing and promotional videos were completed by the Swinburne Design Bureau: Dr Shivani Tyagi (Communication Design Lecturer Swinburne and Director of Design Bureau), Kai Djeng (videos and editing), Emelia Cox (videos and editing), Lachlan Tobin (marketing and communications), Lauren Gualano (branding and logo design).

Toolbox Talks Steering Group includes: James Zarb (Viva Energy), Craig Beikoff (BINGO Industries), Jim Sarkis (BINGO Industries), Mark Noble (Holcim), Daniel Brain (Toll Group), Adam Ritzinger (Toll Group), Peter Johansson (Zurich), Steve Power (Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia), Mike Mulligan (Qube).


1. M. L. Lee, M. E. Howard, W. J. Horrey, Y. Liang, C. Anderson, M. S. Shreeve, C. S. O’Brien and C. A. Czeisler, “High risk of near-crash driving events following night-shift work,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 113, no. 1, pp. 176-181, 2015.
2. Transport Accident Commission (TAC), “Tired driving,” [Online]. Available: https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/road-safety/staying-safe/tired-driving?gclid=CjwKCAiAhbeCBhBcEiwAkv2cY2ra1m9BPljqmqRyw01DtghNCB8YiiYMA6PvZcZ-VOpkcEI324ixiBoC1DoQAvD_BwE. [Accessed 2021].
3. National Sleep Foundation, “Drowsy Driving – Who’s at Risk?,” [Online]. Available: https://drowsydriving.org/about/whos-at-risk/. [Accessed 2021].
4. Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q), “Sleepiness and Fatigue,” 2020. [Online]. Available: https://research.qut. edu.au/carrsq/wp-content/uploads/sites/296/2020/12/Sleepiness-andfatigue.pdf. [Accessed 2021].
5. D. B. Boivin and P. Boudreau, “Impacts of shift work on sleep and circadian rhythms,” Pathologie Biologie, no. 62, pp. 292-301, 2014.
6. C. Anderson PhD, S. Ftouni PhD, J. M. Ronda MS, S. M. W. Rajaratnam PhD, C. A. Czeisler PhD MD and S. W. Lockley PhD, “Self-reported Drowsiness and Safety Outcomes While Driving After an Extended Duration Work Shift in Trainee Physicians,” Sleep, vol. 41, no. 2, 2018.
7. G. Heath, J. Dorrian and A. Coates, “Associations between shift type, sleep, mood, and diet in a group of shift working nurses,” Scand J Work Environ Health, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 402-412, 2019.
8. R. V. Souza, R. A. Sarmento, J. C. de Almeida and R. Canuto, “The effect of shift work on eating habits: a systematic review,” Scand J Work Environ Health, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 7-21, 2019.
9. T. L. Kolbe-Alexander, S. Gomersall, B. Clark, L. Torquati, T. Pavey and W. J. Brown, “A hard day’s night: time use in shift workers,” BMC Public Health, vol. 19, no. 2, p. 452, 2019.
10. National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP), “Don’t be a sleepy driver – Managing sleep when working shifts,” 2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.nrspp.org.au/resources/webinar-dont-be-a-sleepy-drivermanaging-sleep-when-working-shifts/. [Accessed 2021].