The real impact of shift work and workplace fatigue
Dr Tracey Sletten,
Senior Research Fellow - Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Monash University and Project Leader - Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness,
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It is estimated around 20% of the Australian workforce is involved in some form of shift work, many of them in roles critical for public safety. The challenges of shift work and occupational fatigue have long been acknowledged, but recent research has increased understanding of the negative consequences of working against the body clock.
Dr Tracey Sletten of Monash University and the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity presented some of the latest findings and recommendations in this area at the August meeting of Central Safety Group.
Tracey has been working closely with several industries including aviation, transport and healthcare, researching the effects of shift work and sleep loss on workers in their operations. This work has included interventions to improve alertness, health and safety.
As well as the best way to manage shift work, Tracey discussed the need for cultural change to address the growing incidence of sleep loss in the general population linked to modern lifestyles.
Dr Tracey Sletten is a Senior Research Fellow with the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Monash University, and serves as a Project Leader with the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity. She has also held research positions in the US and UK.
Dr Sletten frequently consults nationally and internationally, conducting training and education, analysing work schedules and conducting fatigue assessments for industry. She holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of South Australia.