Tasmania’s Ambo Workers Face Fatigue Issues

Tasmania’s ambulance workers are reportedly at risk of being “worked into the ground” because  of a dramatic increase in overtime.

Tasmania Liberal party health spokesman Jeremy Rockliff cited leaked statistics that showed ambulance workers were on the job a total of 3469 hours overtime in the first two months of 2013 in southern Tasmania. He states that the data also shows that at least 30 crew shortages occurred and sometimes service was cancelled completely. 

“This is clearly an ambulance service in crisis,” he said.

Rockliff emphasized that staff were under stress which could potentially result in a workplace accident.

“As one paramedic put it in a recent survey: ‘It’s only a matter of time before a staff member crashes a vehicle or suffers major ill health due to exceeding their stress-fatigue limit’,” Mr Rockliff said.

The Government stated an additional $48 million had been spent on ambulance services over four years, but demand for services was on the rise. 

To cope with the demand, an additional 18 paramedics have been employed since December and 12  more are expected to  be employed in April.

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Source: http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2013/03/24/375349_tasmania-news.html

Mental Fatigue or “Burn Out” — A Recognised Disorder Costing Billions

Executive burnout is a condition that costs business billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and stress leave. In order to avoid this, corporate leaders should be given “mental checks” to ensure that they haven’t succumbed to mental fatigue.

Burnout is one of the only mental disorders  Work Safe Australia believes to be directly influenced by  excessive work. Reports indicate that burnout leads to a “stress bill” of  $20 billion to businesses annually.

Over worked executives are at the highest risk and their slow descent into complete burnout can  negatively effect companies while also spilling out into personal lives.

Robyn McNeill is a prime example of someone who has been negatively impacted by burnout. McNeill came close to losing her family and her life when she was tried to constantly balance her high pressure project management job with her personal life.

“The first episode of burnout I had was when I walked out on my two kids and their father because I couldn’t cope,”  says Ms McNeill.

“It was fight or flight syndrome, and I chose flight. I didn’t realise I had burnout, I thought my marriage was the problem, I was blaming everyone else.”

“I was mentally exhausted and unable to cope with situations I could normally deal with. One day I told my husband to take all the sleeping tablets and throw them away because if he didn’t, I would take them all.”

Ms McNeill believes her situation could have been helped, had she sought assistance early on.

“It is a journey to burnout,” she says “It starts with stress but if you take no action, the symptoms get worse. You start to lose clarity of thinking, the ability to make good decisions or to be creative, your physical and mental health are in decline. You need to identify what is going on and take action early.”

Clinical psychologist Dr Simon Kinsella suggests that businesses should arrange an annual mental health check for top executives to help tackle issues that some may not acknowledge as problems.

“I am definitely seeing more cases of executive burnout. Executives and CEOs have a higher level of pressure to deal with such as mergers or insolvencies. But they have very driven personalities, they feel weak if they are not coping, and they fear if they show signs of weakness, the culture at executive level will see them as vulnerable,” Dr Kinsella says.

Signs of  BURNOUT 

Recognising and acknowledging  burnout early is a key step in  avoiding it’s disastrous effects one’s  life. Some symptoms are as follows:

  • Inability to sleep-   Insomnia and irregular sleep patterns is a frequent sign of someone under too much stress
  • Unusual Moods-  Males often display overt aggression when  burnout, while women are more likely to cry for what seems like insignificant issues.
  • Unusual Eating habits.
  • The feeling that you are unable to cope
  • Feeling Depressed 
  • Lashing out and blaming others for how you feel 

More info on Fatigue Management

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/meltdown-exec-burnout-costing-billions/story-e6frg6n6-1226508470134

Fatigue Management: The High Cost of Overworking

The annual cost of overworking and stress is exceeding $30 billion, which is half of the entire workplace compensation payout.Both Physical and psychological stress have trumped other types of injury and illness. The long term effects have proven to lead to a loss in productivity and a financial toll that workers and the community are forced to pay.

A thorough study of workplace deaths and injuries revealed a cost of $60.6 billion annually.The report concluded that the number of workplace deaths had fallen in 2009-2010 during the global financial crisis. Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten will campaign to encourage workers to speak up about safety and call for annual monitoring by Parliament.

Safe Work Australia’s study revealed that when “body stressing” and “mental stress” is a dangerous combination that leads to half of the injuries in the workplace.The data did not show a link between long hours and injury but the report did reveal that more than one-third of the cases and total economic costs are connected to body stressing and manual labour.

The report also showed that one-third of employees stated that “burnout” is a reason for them to take sick leave when they aren’t actually sick.

Why does it feel like I am “burning out” ?

“Burning out”  from overworking is simply another form of fatigue. It is important to get fatigue management training in order to avoid getting fed up and subsequently allowing the quality of your work and your safety to lapse.  It is hard for once to detect if they are suffering from fatigue and it is even more difficult to tell when your fatigue has reached to a level where it is no longer safe for you to work.

Fatigue systems can be broken up into three categories; physical,mental, and emotional. Some physical symptoms; include yawning, eye rubbing,  and microsleeps. If you are suffering from mental fatigue you may find your self having a difficult time concentrating and paying attention to some things. Also, you may have difficulty remembering the task at hand, or find your self making frequent mistakes in the workplace.

Finally, emotional fatigue is a common but sometimes overlooked type of fatigue. Symptoms of emotional fatigue can be perceived as “burning out”. Often times an emotionally fatigued individual will find themselves being more quiet or introverted than usual. An emotionally fatigued person will notice a loss of energy,  loss of motivation and a lack of drive.


Indian Aviation Fatigue Laws in Review

MUMBAI: While the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has made it mandatory for flight attendants to check on pilots during lean-activity periods in the cockpit to prevent the flying crew from falling asleep at the controls, the country’s aviation regulator is yet to issue scientifically backed pilot rest rules despite the rising instances of fatigue-related air crashes the world over. (more…)

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