A PCBU has a duty to manage fatigue within the workplace, and workers have a duty to arrive at work fit for duty. The first step to managing fatigue is identifying the contributing factors that increase the risk. Like all hazards you should try to eliminate first if reasonably practicable to do so. However this is not always possible, a few minimisation controls are as follows:
Take regular breaks during and between shift work – Manage shift work to allow workers to get plenty of rest time, consider the need for travel and life outside of work such as the need to do household chores and look after children.
Take a 15 minute walk – A short 15 minute walk can give your energy levels a boost, providing oxygen to the muscles helping you feel refreshed.
Eat well and drink plenty of water – Keep your body hydrated and fueled by eating a well-balanced diet that provides a steady release of energy during the day. Dehydration can cause you to feel tired so ensure water intake levels are kept up.
Exercise – Regular exercise will not only keep you fit but can also aid in better sleep.
Get plenty of sleep – Ensure your workers get enough rest time. Research has shown that the number of hours awake can be similar in effect to the influence of alcohol.
SLEEP DEPRIVATION LIKENED TO THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL /
One study reports the following:
17 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.05.
21 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.08.
24-25 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.10.
As a PCBU you cannot control what your workers do outside of the workplace. However, controls can be implemented to avoid conflict between personal and work demands by developing specific fatigue policies for workers, managers and supervisors, as mentioned in the previous bulletin.
Consult with your workers about managing fatigue, not just when at work, as well as the risks associated with fatigue and how it relates to their health and safety duties.
The HazardCo team
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