‘Fatigue Management’ was chosen as the focus of our online Workshop held in October in response to the 2021 Australian Resources and Energy Employer Association (AREEA: previously AMMA) survey identifying mental health, drug and alcohol use, and sleep quality as issues across our workforce, all contributing factors to fatigue.
The workshop brought together expert speakers, explaining theory, actual study data outcomes and a real application case study, which while based on the mining industry can be applied to Oil and Gas shift workers.
The Workshop commenced with Keynote Speaker, Dr Ian Dunican (Director and Chief Advisor, Melius Consulting, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, University of Western Australia, Adjunct Associate Professor, Edith Cowan University) presentation focussing on the following:
- Providing context on contributing factors for fatigue; physical, mental, and psychological.
- The importance of embedding a Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) that is predictive and proactive, complementing a company’s Safety Management System to identify, evaluate, manage, and mitigate ongoing fatigue-related risks.
- The 14 elements (based on recent research) that make up an FRMS.
- Identifying the appropriate risk-based control measures to promote safety.
Dr Dunican closed his presentation with a clear identification of 6 layers of ‘defence’ in FRMS deployment:
- Sufficient staffing levels
- Shift and duty scheduling
- Training and education
- Sleep disorder management/sleep optimisation
- Work environment and shift work management
- Alertness behaviour
Gemma Maisey (Health and Safety Professional/PhD student Edith Cowan University) was next up with her fantastic presentation ‘Digging for data: How sleep is losing out to roster design, sleep disorders and lifestyle factors’. Her study, the first of its kind, aims to quantify the prevalence of sleep problems and disorders amongst shift workers in a remote WA mining operation.
After a comprehensive look at the survey data captured as part of her research, Gemma drove into the findings. Though not necessarily a surprise to many in the room, the prevalence of sleep apnoea and shift work disorder amongst participants was high. Her study also highlighted contributing personal factors such as obesity and the consumption of alcohol at hazardous and harmful levels.
This research highlights the importance of identifying and the need to mitigate root causes of fatigue through targeted fatigue risk management interventions.
Following Gemma was Doug Stuart (AngloGold Ashanti) with a comprehensive walk through the case study in AngloGold Ashanti Fatigue Risk Management Journey at their Tropicana Gold Mine site.
Following multiple fatigue related HiPo incidents, AngloGold Ashanti took a holistic approach, incorporating the elements of the FRMS, in developing a methodology to address fatigue on the mine site.
An FRM diagnostic was carried out a to identify opportunities for improvement using wearable technologies, screening programs, biomathematical modelling for shift and roster risk, and in-vehicle fatigue monitoring.
AngloGold then engaged sleep scientists to assist in developing techniques, training, and management controls to mitigate and manage fatigue in the site.
After consultation with the workforce, this multi-faceted approach was implemented, which saw a 46% reduction of events/month with individuals deemed ‘at risk’ of fatigue at the site.
Ellary Brown (Health and Hygiene Advisor, Woodside) concluded the line of presenters and introduced of a series of fatigue-related toolbox talks developed by Woodside – that Woodside has generously made available for download by Member Companies on the Safer Together website.
Following a short question and answer session, the event closed, leaving attendees with a lot to consider regarding improving fatigue-related outcomes at their worksite.
A full recording of this event is available here.
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