Integrated Safety Support
Sign up to stay informed

The Fatigue Insider Blog

London’s Buses commit to combatting fatigue

Nov 27, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

 

 
Transport for London (TFL) recently announced a range of measures to address fatigue among bus drivers, which has been reported as a factor in several incidents involving London’s buses.
 
In the five years from January 2014, almost 5,000 people were injured by crashes involving a TFL contracted bus and 49 were killed.
 
TFL said that it would make £500,000 in new funding available for London Bus operators to trial new technology and introduce innovative solutions that change the safety culture within bus garages and increase the focus on driver health and wellbeing.
 
This includes rigorous fatigue risk management systems for any company operating London buses and fatigue training for all managers. These systems are intended to assess the tiredness of drivers and provide processes for managing and reporting it when it occurs.
 
A TFL commissioned report on the subject of driver fatigue discovered that more than one-third of drivers had what they described as “a close call” when driving a bus because of their weariness.
 
This is absolutely a step in the right direction and will likely benefit drivers, operators, and the general public.

 

READ MORE
Surviving a 19 hour flight

Nov 20, 2019 ISS Comments (0)


 

Air travel these days is already a marathon, but with Qantas' testing the limits of human endurance recently with a 19-hour trial flight, we wanted to provide some tips on surviving an ultra-long haul flight.

 
1. Stay hydrated
Obviously this involves drinking plenty of water, and even adding electrolytes to maximise your absorption if you want to, but avoiding dehydration requires more than just water intake. Avoiding dehydrating food and drink like caffeine, alcohol, salty foods, and heavy carbohydrates will make you feel much better. Go for leafy greens instead!
 
2. Set your watch to the local time
Travelling across time zones upsets our circadian rhythms, so set your watch to the local time and try to eat and sleep at the appropriate time for your destination.
 
3. Apply your SPF
You have much less protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays up in the air, where the ozone layer is thinnest. Make sure you apply and re-apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun.
 
4. Keep your body moving
You want to make sure that you keep your body mobile to avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis. No one’s body is meant to sit in a tiny chair for 19 hours, so doing some exercise on the flight will also make you a little less irritable! The video below suggests setting alarm for every three hours so that you’ll remember to get up, walk around, and do some stretches.
 
Check out this great video from the Wall Street Journal for more tips on surviving an ultra-long haul flight.

 

 

READ MORE
Smart drugs: the rise of cognitive doping

Nov 13, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

 

 
More and more people are turning to pharmaceutical drugs to improve their performance at work and university, which raises a lot of questions about their efficacy and safety. How did nootropics like Modafinil go from a powerful narcolepsy drug to the centre of the conversation about doping at work and unrealistic expectations of productivity?

 

Nootropics are a broad range of drugs said to improve cognitive function, from improving memory retention to spurring creativity. The drug Modafinil keeps you awake far beyond normal limits and is said to allow you to maintain intense focus for a period of time. It was taken by helicopter pilots to stay alert as they carried US Special Forces to and from the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. It can also have serious side effects like intense headaches and anxiety, and we don’t even know the long-term safety issues for those using them as a performance enhancer rather than a narcolepsy drug.

 
In 2011, just over 650,000 people in the US had Modafinil prescriptions. By 2012, that number had risen to 1.9 million, a figure not including people obtaining it illegally. Drugs like these have become more widespread in competitive and high-stakes environments like universities and Silicon Valley, as expectations about productivity have skyrocketed. We must question the kind of working environment that incentivises taking powerful drugs in order to keep up with demands.

 

It also calls into question the efficacy of using drugs like these to get a competitive edge. Is it cheating? Some sports organisations ban the usage of drugs like Adderall for those with an ADHD diagnosis for the same reasons they ban steroids and other performance enhancers. Will employer drug tests soon screen for modafinil use? Or on the contrary, will CEOs welcome the rise of extra-sharp workers who never need sleep?


 

READ MORE
Is a midnight snack the key to staying alert?

Nov 06, 2019 ISS Comments (0)


A recent study by researchers at the University of South Australia looked at how food intake can affect those working the nightshift. By testing the impact of a snack, a meal, or no food at all, the study found that a simple snack was the best choice for maximising alertness and productivity.

The study looked at a small group of 44 nightshift workers over a week, dividing them into groups to test three different midnight eating patterns: a meal, a snack, and no food. They were then asked to report on their levels of hunger, gut reaction and sleepiness.
 
It found that all participants reported increased sleepiness and fatigue, but those who had a snack reduced the impact of those feelings. Additionally, the snack group did not experience the same uncomfortable gut reactions as the group that ate a meal.
 
In today’s 24/7 economy, working the nightshift is increasingly common, with industries like health care, aviation, transport and mining needing employees to work around the clock. Of Australia’s 1.4 million shift workers, over 200,000 (15%) regularly work the nightshift. Upsetting the body’s circadian rhythm in this way can be a real health and safety risk, which is why robust fatigue management needs to be in place for employee wellbeing as well as productivity.
 
Lead researcher Charlotte Gupta said that the next step is research into how different types of snacks could affect night shift workers. She says that the findings have to potential to affect thousands of shift workers; “the findings will inform the most strategic eating patterns on-shift and can hopefully contribute to more alert and better performing workers.”
 
The study can be accessed here.

 

 

READ MORE
1