A factsheet from Transport Safety Networks in Queensland about fatigue. See also: Transport Safety Networks NRSPP Case Study

Fatigue is not just an on-road issue

Everyone in the transport industry is aware of fatigue as an on-road issue. However, fatigue management is essential for all workers across the transport industry, and not just for drivers.

  • Employers need to put fatigue management on the agenda for improving safety in the workplace and need to be aware of the causes and warning signs of fatigue.
  • Workers need to be aware that fatigue management is a 24/7 issue, and manage their lifestyle to prevent fatigue.

The transport safety network has agreed that the following information may be useful to help manage and raise awareness of fatigue in the workplace.

Cause of fatigue

Everyone needs to be aware that, depending on the individual, the following factors may lead to fatigue:

WorkPersonal
·  shift lengths, hours of work and shift rotations.

·  after hours call-outs.

·  commuting (the distance to and from work that an employee travels).

·  work related issues such as bullying, increased responsibilities or low job satisfaction

·  health issues

·  financial issues

·  special events and/or celebrations

·  family and children

·  getting married or divorced

·  buying, building or moving to a new house

Warning signs

If you think that a worker may have a problem it is vital to determine whether the employee is suffering from fatigue.  Warning signs of fatigue may include:

  • changes to appearance.
  • out of character behaviour.
  • incidents or damage to equipment or product.
  • noticeable difference in performance

–   increased errors

–   taking risks and/or short cuts

–   increased absenteeism.

Possible solutions

Solutions could possibly include:

  • flexibility
  • work/life balance
  • wellness programs

In the majority of cases the only one that knows there is a problem is the worker.  Getting to know your employees and encouraging them to talk about their issues will help to identify possible solutions.

There are also organisations that can help workers manage the issues that can lead to fatigue:

  • medical attention
  • beyondblue has some great materials, including books, CD’s and posters.

an effective Employee Assistance Program (EAP).