The dangers of workplace fatigue & how to manage the consequences

Dec 18
Author:Ash Natesh
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Workplace fatigue is a familiar and ongoing challenge for those in 24-hour industries. However, the rise of technology and the ability to work from almost anywhere has led to an increase in fatigue-related incidents across a number of sectors.

There has been new legislations directly around fatigue in aviation and transport and an expansion to the model WHS act to account for risk to psychological health.

What happens when a pilot becomes fatigued during a flight?

A pilot fell asleep in his cockpit off Tasmania and overflew his landing destination by 46 kilometres.

The experienced driver who is not identified was the only person who was on the twin-propeller Piper PA-31 Navajo Chieftain and was flying on autopilot during the morning shift on November 8 from Devonport, 250 kilometres northwest to King Island.

The incident over Tasmania has triggered an investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

“The ATSB is investigating a pilot incapacitation involving a Piper PA-31, VH-TWU, operated by Vortex Air, near King Island Airport, Tasmania,” the summary of the bureau investigation said.(Nine News)

The ATSB said it will interview the pilot and review the airline’s operational procedures before it releases a report early next year.

This is one of many incidents where the fatigued employee has put civilian lives at risk.

Emma Davey, a 27 year old pilates teacher suffered serious concussions and whiplash in the accident at Kennington when her Uber driver allegedly fell asleep.

She said to the Evening Standard: “I noticed his driving was a little odd, there was a lot of swerving and people started beeping at him. I was keeping an eye on him as I felt he was falling asleep at the wheel.”

“I had to take a month off and lost around £3,700,” she said. “My physio actually signed me off for longer due to the concussion but I just couldn’t afford to not work.” (Evening Standard)

Recent truck driver deaths have also been a highlight for the year. Currently, road deaths involving commercial heavy vehicles are mainly considered as road accidents, which contribute to the road toll but are not considered ‘worksite’ deaths and hence may not warrant prosecutions under industrial law.

A recent example cited involved a driver dying after veering off the road at Logan Motorway at Tanah Merah, south of Brisbane.

How do you manage fatigue and minimise accidents?

It is important to understand the tools & technologies to effectively identify fatigue risk exposures.

Don’t miss the chance to hear from Adjunct Professor at University of South Australia & CEO, Integrated Safety Support, Adam Fletcher as he shares his insights on:

  • Effective methods to identify potential fatigue issues in workers, work patterns and workplaces
  • Using automated and semi-automated data analytics to leverage available data/information
  • Going beyond compliance by embedding long-term approaches to improve the wellbeing of staff

Adjunct Professor Adam Fletcher will be a key speaker at the Managing Fatigue & Health Outcomes Conference on 26th & 27th February 2019 in Sydney.

Submitted by Ash Natesh

Ash Natesh

Ash is the Content Marketer at Criterion Conferences. Writing and sourcing content is all part of her day to day routine. She can’t stop drinking coffee, other than coffee her interests lie in Music, long walks amidst the mountains, Dance, Anime, Science Fiction and all things nerdy!

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