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Managing Fatigue

Sunday, March 31, 2013 by Chris Hocking

Why is fatigue management so important

Research shows that by the time you realise you're drowsy, you may have already had a micro-sleep at the wheel! So how do you self-manage drowsiness if the state of being drowsy is one you actually have no control over? We have all heard the road toll stats and we understand the consequences of pushing ourselves to the limit, but in a world of increased push for productivity and decreased sleep, how do we manage to stay safe whilst operating dangerous machinery?

Is the answer a totally objective technology that partially takes the responsibility out of your hands?

Fatigue Management in the workplace

During world cup fever in Southern Chile, a major coal mining company realised they needed to take a proactive approach to managing the fatigue levels of all operators on site. After drafting and rolling out a strong fatigue management plan through Optalert, management assumed they had the fatigue levels of their world cup fans under control. It wasn't until several operator's Fatigue Risk Profiles uncharacteristically shot into high alert territory that they realised they had a problem. The invaluable Optalert data they collected allowed them to carefully restructure break times, so alerts went down as drivers were no longer simply self-managing fatigue. They had support.

So the question is, how do you carefully balance supporting your workforce with a second set of 'eyes' – as is the case with Optalert – versus being perceived to be intrusive in their workspace?

Operator buy-in is a goal that has no end date. It is a constant part of successfully staying on track with fatigue management.

How have you balanced big brother with duty of care at your site?

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