The proposal falls under national health and safety laws that were implemented to improve fatigue management.
Employers are angry that the new laws designates them as the “yawn police” , always on duty for workplace fatigue.The government agency’s fatigue management checklist includes headaches, daydreaming, constant yawning, low motivation and moodiness. It has reportedly been proposed that bosses ‘eliminate or reduce the need to work extended hours or overtime’ to avoid fatigue dangers.
“If a worker leaves their job tired and exhausted they may be less able to enjoy out of work activities or could be a danger to themselves and others in the community,” the draft code states
The code states that If a worker arrives to work and is deemed unfit to work because of a lack of sleep, illness or other condition, the worker may be less productive and could endanger themselves or others.The report reveals that the the code recommends that employers train workers in ‘balancing work and personal lifestyle demands’.
Eight of the charges leveled against Taramore Pty Ltd, were for breaching regulations set out by Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996. These set of regulations states that responsibility is on employers to effectively manage fatigue and assist drivers by having efficient systems implemented.
Without a proper system, drivers often exceed the amount of the work time allowed without resting after up to seven consecutive hours.
The last charge placed upon Taramore was for allowing a driver who was not certified fit by a medical practitioner.
The case was heard in the Magistrates Court of Western Australia on 17 August. In addition to paying the $9000 in fines the company is now also responsible for paying $11,000 in costs.
Many drivers drivers either worked for the Taramore Pty Ltd in excess of 10 hours/twice a week or worked for the company for a total of over 60 hours in one week.
According to reports, the company did not set up trip schedules and left it to drivers to regulate their own trips. Drivers were expected to record trip sheets and return the paperwork to the company at the end of each shift. The trip sheet indicated that the drivers exceeded the permitted amount of work time as set out by regulations.
WorkSafe Commissioner Lex McCulloch said driver fatigue is a serious risk to the safety of long haul drivers and to the public.
“The importance of the management of fatigue is well known and recognised as a serious risk by the industry. There are real dangers when fatigued transport workers drive and it is disappointing when there are cases like this,” McCulloch said.
More info on Fatigue Management