Workplace Fatigue Guidelines Released

A new guide to managing risk factors arising from fatigue in the PS workplace and others has been prepared and released by Safe Work Australia for review and comment.

The draft Managing the risk of fatigue at work publication provides practical guidance for managing fatigue and ensuring it does not contribute to health and safety risks in the workplace.The consultation process in the Commonwealth arena is being managed by Comcare. The draft guide was developed as part of a process to harmonise work health and safety laws and provide a consistent approach across Australia.

It says the information in it can be applied generally to all types of work and all workplaces covered by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.    “It is not designed to provide information on how to manage fatigue in specific industries and does not replace requirement related to fatigue under other laws,” the guide says, “for example heavy vehicle driver fatigue laws or rail safety requirements under the Rail Safety National Law.  “The steps that need to be taken to manage the risk of fatigue will vary from one workplace to the next, depending on the nature of the work, environmental conditions and individual factors.“The first step in the risk management process is to identify all reasonably foreseeable factors that could contribute to the risk of fatigue.” 

It said there may not be obvious signs of fatigue at the workplace but that did not mean it was not occurring or factors that increased the risk of fatigue were not present.

More info on Fatigue Management Training

Source:http://www.psnews.com.au/Page_psn3561.html

Unions Worried About Weakened Fatigue Legislation

Regulation to manage fatigue among NSW train operators may be weakened under proposed reforms, according to the national rail union.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union stated that the  reforms could result in drivers working for over 10 hours at a time. These new national rail safety laws will reportedly replace state-based laws. States have accepted the new laws, although Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian succeeded in her attempts to retain stronger fatigue management provisions in NSW.

Both Transport for NSW and the Federal Minister for Transport, Anthony Albanese state that fatigue management systems will not be weakened under the new laws. However,  national secretary of the RTBU, Bob Nanva stated that semantically, the draft federal laws threatens stronger provisions in NSW.

The union submitted a report clarifying the ways in which state’s regulations could be weakened. Both long distance and inter-urban drivers,  fall under the current NSW regulations,  but only apply to “long distance” trains.

“This proposed wording clearly changes the current NSW arrangement by leaving sufficient ambiguity to argue that inter-urban services are not long distance trains – and therefore not subject to the shift limits that currently apply to those services,” the union’s submission states.

According to the union’s submission, in NSW train drivers are required to have a minimum break of 30 minutes between the third and fifth hours of each shift.

The draft national laws, however, required a “maximum” 30-minute break only to be “scheduled”.

But this has since been changed to “scheduled and taken”.

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/national/union-fears-over-train-driver-fatigue-20121024-284xn.html#ixzz2AYmhxHJA

Fire Crews Face Fatigue Management Issues

Rural firefighters are  suffering from fatigue and dehydration as they operate  rakehoes and chainsaws to control southeast Queensland’s wave of grass and bush fires.

Volunteers are consuming approximately a litre of water every hour in order to keep up pace and creating fire breaks during 12-14 hour shifts.

First responders were replaced by “strike teams” of fire fighters from Stanthorpe and the Sunshine Coast.

Rural Fire Brigade Association president Mike Garrahy predicted some time ago that this would be one of the worst fire seasons in many years. Thus far, his assertions have been all but prophetic.

Residents and Firefighters alike, have been grateful that the temperature has not risen and it hasn’t been drier — however it would be several additional days until the fires are controlled. According to rural operations regional director Peter Varley, the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service is monitoring the level of fatigue and will be replacing crews when fatigue begins to pose a problem.

“We have a fatigue management plan, but we have a limited amount of volunteers, they do a marvellous job. It’s something that we keep in mind all the time, that we have to keep changing those crews over.”

Mr Garrahy indicated that guidelines were implemented that ordered firefighters to return home for rest after two and half shifts .

Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/fire-crews-fight-fatigue-as-they-battle-southeast-queenslands-grass-and-bush-fires/story-e6freoof-1226502721942

Is Better Fatigue Management Needed For Paramedics?

Fatigue management trainingRecent lapses in procedure have resulted in the Ambulance union declaring that mistakes made by paramedics were the direct result of fatigue. Shortly before this declaration, it was revealed that a 62-year-old woman collapsed from what appeared to be a heartattack. Paramedics arrive at the scene and immediately tried to revive. After 27 minutes, the paramedics gave up and declared the woman dead—then six minutes later the woman woke up. The woman’s heart had never infact started but the allegedly fatigued paramedics did not notice any abnormalities.

A leaked Ambulance Victoria report revealed that paramedics have had fatigue level readings that are equal to twice the blood/alcohol limit. The secretive report quoted paramedics who stated their concerns for the safety of patients and the level of alcohol that many consume to avoid work.The confidential report is almost 3 years old now but little changes have been made to deal with the fatigue levels of ambulance workers, according to the Ambulance Employees Australia union.

State secretary Steve McGhie is concerned that fatigue may be causing incidents such as the one involving the 62-year-old woman.McGhie said he would consider legal action if any of his injuries were the victim of shoddy Fatigue Management

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/fatigued-paramedics-fear-for-safety-of-patients-20120628-215g8.html#ixzz1zbUkvWsZ

2.2 million Australians over-working; risking fatigue

Fatigue Management TrainingAccording to data compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 21 percent (2.2 million) are working more hours than they should be ( on average 46.9 hours a week).  Of these over-workers, majority is likely to be males between the ages 35-64, who have high-income professions such as lawyers or doctors. Over- working can often lead to fatigue

This is a contrast to the 1.4 million workers, or 14 percent of the workforce, who desire more hours at work.  Being over-employed seems to correlate with age, since it appears the likelihood seems to increase as one gets older.

26 percent of male workers, who had children, desired to work less hours, while 19 percent of women with children, desired to work less.

53 percent of over-employed workers were more likely to desire less hours of work because of family concerns, while almost a quarter wanted less hours for work and recreation.The report also states that the number of work related deaths rose in 2008-2009, however the number of occupational health and safety deaths have fallen since.

Working long hours can often times lead to fatigue, and subsequently fatigue related injuries and deaths, thus companies have had their employees enroll in Fatigue Management training.

Source : http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/overworked-australians-yearn-for-a-social-life/story-fn59niix-1226084465841

Nearly 25% of workers at a plant risk fatigue

Fatigue Training courses are availableNearly twenty-five percent of workers at Adelaide’s desalination plant are at a high risk of fatigue, while nearly two-fifths of workers are at a moderate risk.

The union representative said that the workers are subjected to lengthy hours of work, occupational bullying, and stress. The project is allegedly huge and it has enormous amounts of pressure behind.

Many workers were apparently often found to be working upwards to seventy hours a week.  Long hours coupled with workplace bullying is apparently the major cause of stress at the plant.

A report found that nearly forty percent of six hundred surveyed workers were found to be at moderate risk of lack of sleep and fatigue.

The Adelaide Aqua SA Water and construction union compiled the report.

Source: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/desal-plant-workers-under-stress/comments-e6frea83-1226085169793

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