Integrated Safety Support
Fatigue Management & Human Factors in our 24-hour Society
Fatigue Management & Human Factors in our 24-hour Society

The Fatigue Insider Blog

How can automation reduce safety and productivity?

Sep 28, 2015 ISS Comments (0)

For many industries, including Mining and Oil & Gas, there are a lot of headwinds at the moment. This situation has a range of our clients talking about automation as a 'solution' to reduce costs while increasing safety and company performance. 

While technology enhancements can deliver the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, our experience is that they rarely do without careful (but not difficult) considerations. When things don't go to plan you can almost hear people screaming "But, how could the spreadsheet plan be so wrong!?".

From our experience, there are a three key questions that are best asked before considering technology changes involving people:

  • Would the technology be expected to reduce workload (i.e. increase monotony & boredom) and/or increase workload (e.g. by adding complexity)? If so, then there is an early red flag for the possibility of increased fatigue impairment, which may demand different risk controls that the ones already in place. 
  • Is there a reason that the risks within the system will increase for a period, before the benefits are obtained? This could simply be due to the change process itself, or the fact that parallel systems have to be maintained for a time. If so, then don't expect a linear accrual of benefits but plan for the likely reality until the system data suggests stability exists.
  • Could the workforce see the technology as a threat to their job security? If so, don't under-estimate the very human ability to make achievement of success very difficult or impossible. If their jobs are safe but their role now has higher order purposes for quality and assurance then communicate that. If the technology will provide them feedback to help them enhance their own personal safety and team productivity then explain how that is possible. 
The good news is that change can be managed well, and often with a lot less investment and drama than people fear. In practice, a little bit of forethought, planning and communication can go a very long way. If you have your own successes or lessons about any of this please share them. Regards, Adam
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Is automatic braking a help or a hindrance?

Apr 01, 2015 ISS Comments (0)

Automated systems in vehicles are starting to show commercial advantages, with Australia's NRMA Insurance offering discounts to drivers with automatic emergency braking (AEB).

A recent article on  news.com.au says with 80% of collisions taking place in slow traffic, the technology can avoid rear end accidents without the driver applying pressure to the brake pedal.

It’s easy to see the financial benefit on a fleet of trucks, when a 15% discount on a $200,000 vehicle saves $450 per annum.

However, automated technology can cause problems when there may be a need for a human being to respond further after the initial braking response. If they were relying on the system and putting their attention on the cute pedestrian or their smart phone, they might not have all of the resources they need to respond appropriately or quickly. Also, what happens when a driver who relies on automatic emergency braking technology in one vehicle, swaps to  another vehicle without AEB?

It’s these types of scenarios that cause concern when automation  and semi-automation is introduced into the workplace.

There is also a concern if the system fails completely as can be seen by this demonstration failure by Volvo .

Don't hesitate to get in touch with us to help your businesses navigate these murky waters, in these undeniably exciting times. 

 

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When safety procedures boost productivity

Mar 27, 2015 ISS Comments (0)

There is a perception that safety hampers productivity. However, this flies in the face of our research and consulting work.

Maintaining a safe work environment can enhance productivity, not hinder it.

While adhering to well thought-out safety procedures can take time, employees are going to be much happier and more engaged if they know why they need to adhere to these procedures, as well as when they know that their employer is committed to their safety.

If a person’s work is noticed, valued and rewarded, you’ll end up with a happier, more alert employee that is engaged. As a result, they are likely to take more care with tasks at hand and in a more efficient way. They may even contribute to the company in ways that are not even close to being part of their job description, just because they actually feel invested in the success of the whole team. 

And the opposite is also true. If workers ‘don’t care’ about their job because they have the feeling that no-one else does, that’s when shortcuts are taken, at the expense of safety and ultimately productivity.

Similarly, unnecessary and impractical safety procedures that waste time can foster bitterness and resentment, so it’s important that employees are given the responsibility to look after themselves and their co-workers, and contribute to system refinements based on the operational reality.

This approach is something at Integrated Safety Support that we call ‘safe production’. It’s a simple philosophy that boils down to the fact that productivity and safety are at their optimum at the same when employees are engaged and alert. This is not theory, because we have been involved in client projects were hard data from the business has shown reductions in risk simultaneous with higher employee satisfaction, improved safety, enhanced compliance, and more efficient use of resources. 

In the future, making gains in safety while also making gains in productivity will become a minimum requirement of a Fatigue Management project. Right now, we seem to be lone wolves in the wilderness but we are enjoying the clean air out here. For more information about the philosophy or hard science of 'safe production', contact me via adam@integratedsafety.com.au or +61 416 231 456. 

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Do you check Facebook before going to bed?

Mar 24, 2015 ISS Comments (0)

The next time you think about checking your emails before you go to bed, or making one more Facebook updates to wrap up a busy day – you may want to think again.

Research shows the blue light given off by electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops upsets melatonin levels, which can affect your ability to fall asleep.

Developing a regular routine before going to bed is a great way to prepare your body to sleep and a great suggestion to help this is to put your mobile devices away at least an hour before bed time. And, as previously reported on this blog, turn devices off because the noises and electromagnetic radiation can have impacts on us without us being consciously aware of them. 

Sleep tight! :)

Thanks to Amy Corderoy’s article in The Age, titled: Sleep cycles disrupted by electronic devices for bringing this tip to the fore. 

For more information, contact us via  Facebook ,   LinkedIn ,   Twitter or comment below.

Join us in Singapore for our Fatigue Management & Human Factors in our 24-hour Society event in March 2019 to find out more about sleep and fatigue management. Click here for tickets and more information.

We are running a December discount offering 25% off all tickets for our blog readers (with the exception of student tickets). Please use the promotion code FatigueInsider in the site (noting that the code is case sensitive and there is no space between the two words). Don’t forget to share the code with your friends and colleagues.


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Amazing statistics on trucking crashes. Here they are.

Mar 18, 2015 ISS Comments (0)

It’s hard to imagine that the 3339 fatigue related crashes recorded by the Australian Roads & Maritime Service last year are more than double the amount of alcohol-related crashes.

While there should not be any alcohol-related crashes in a perfect world, the comparison does highlight how big a risk fatigue is – and the effect it is having on our roads.

Insurance industry figures show that 10% of truck accidents are caused by fatigue, and some say this is a conservative number given people can easily claim other causes (like "I swerved to miss a dog" or a cow or a moose depending on the location). 

There are some great industry tips by technology writer Ian Daniel in his article titled Fatigued drivers cramp fleet productivity and increase costs featured on the ABC website .

 

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Driving while distracted… an accident waiting to happen…

Mar 13, 2015 ISS Comments (0)

The Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety in Queensland has conducted some insightful research into driving while distracted – focusing on using mobile phones while driving.

Their research says that using a mobile phone while driving increases your risk of crashing four-fold...ouch!

Of particular interest is to read that distraction (including distraction due to fatigue) is a contributing factor to 71% of truck crashes.

It is a timely reminder of  the risks truck drivers, and all road users, face if they are driving distracted. Fatigue and distraction interact heavily and so both are critical to identify and manage. 

One driver monitoring solution from Seeing Machines, which is the Driver Safety System or DSS, has been specifically developed and validated to identify BOTH fatigue and distraction events. We are not aware of any other product in the market that can make that claim and back it up with operational data showing substantial reductions in crash risk and other safety measures. Watch this space...

For more information, contact us via  Facebook ,   LinkedIn ,   Twitter or comment below.

Join us in Singapore for our Fatigue Management & Human Factors in our 24-hour Society event in March 2019 to find out more about sleep and fatigue management. Click here for tickets and more information.

We are running a December discount offering 25% off all tickets for our blog readers (with the exception of student tickets). Please use the promotion code FatigueInsider in the site (noting that the code is case sensitive and there is no space between the two words). Don’t forget to share the code with your friends and colleagues.


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Fatigue-affected police working second jobs?

Mar 10, 2015 ISS Comments (0)

It was interesting to come across an article on watoday.com.au that shows more than 300 Western Australian police officers are working second jobs to supplement their income.

While the article focuses on concerns such as conflict of interests with being a police officer, Ie. working in the horse racing industry, the article barely touches on the effect that fatigue could have because of longer working hours.

While there is obviously a concern about police driving while fatigued due to working a second job, there are more situations that need to be considered.

Will a police officer who has just finished his or her part-time shift and is now on the beat be able to think clearly in a situation that requires drawing their weapon? Will they even be easily able to have a difficult conversation with a colleague or member of the public in a sensitive, articulate and productive way?

There are some major issues here where fatigue could affect simple tasks, needless to say how it could affect more serious situations.

The costs of second jobs and even other responsibilities like parenting are often hidden from view. That is why fatigue has been called a 'silent killer'. While the solutions are obvious to my team and me, old habits die hard and it takes pro-active individuals and companies to reverse the tide. 

 
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