Managing fatigue: getting it right
Professor David Caple,
OHS Consultant and Adjunct Professor,
Centre for Ergonomics & Human Factors, La Trobe University, David Caple & Associates
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Fatigue at work can present significant risks, with fatigue management policies covered in OHS regulations and industrial agreements.
But Professor David Caple questions whether our current arrangements are dealing with it very well.
He discussed shortcomings in this area as well as looking at some less well understood implications of fatigue. He also highlighted the increase in fatigue problems with white collar workers.
David said fatigue has physical, psychological and cognitive effects which can apply in any role in the workplace. This makes it important for OHS professionals to see it not only as a safety hazard but as a wider workplace wellbeing issue.
“We don’t always appreciate the cumulative impact of fatigue, or the poor quality of sleep people are getting today. We’re now in a generation that celebrates extended work hours, lives with round the clock digital activity and sees long daily commutes as normal,” he said.
David talked about increased understanding of the psychological, emotional and cognitive cost this is having on people, as well as the impact on their physical health, and whether awareness of this should lead to changes in the workplace.
David Caple, who has a background as an ergonomist, has been a leading figure in occupational health and safety in Australia for many years. He has advised a wide range of businesses, industry groups and public sector organisations and worked with Australian and overseas governments on work health and safety strategy. He is an OHS consultant and Adjunct Professor, Centre for Ergonomics & Human Factors, La Trobe University.