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The Fatigue Insider Blog

This could be the easiest but most controversial change to increase productivity…

Mar 05, 2015 ISS Comments (0)

The idea that boosting productivity by starting the work day an hour later might be too radical for some senior managers to fathom.

But research out of America shows that people starting between 9 and 10am can gain as much 1.3 hours extra sleep compared to colleagues who start at 6am.

Well – those facts seem perfectly obvious. But the real benefits of a later start time can be seen in gained productivity, more alert workers (less work accidents) and happier staff (better job satisfaction – retaining qualified and trained staff).

And then there are external benefits such as decreasing the pressure on peak hour traffic, as well as allowing parents to drop children off at childcare and school. 

OK, so there are other factors to consider too, but what ideas might flow out if we think a bit bigger about the solutions for the challenges for workers in extended- and 24-hour industries?

The University of Pennsylvania conducted the study after researching the sleep habits of nearly 125,000 respondents, with this article featuring on and The Huffington Post .

Mining industry loses much more than brain cells due to alcohol abuse

Mar 03, 2015 ISS Comments (0)

As I’ve mentioned previously in the blog, the excessive use of alcohol onsite at mining operations is a recipe for disaster. This is not a theoretical ideology, but a view formed by seeing the sometimes disgusting and dangerous effects of alcohol use in mining camps. Just because someone can blow zero on a breath test the next morning does not mean they are not suffering a hangover and posing a danger to themselves and others. 

I’ve also read research that’s made me even more afraid of the impact of alcohol in work camps.

It’s a controversial stance as having a few beers after a hard day is ingrained in many work cultures. And, in fact, having one or two is unlikely to cause any issues for the majority of us. However, what happens when the norm is six, or 10?

But the consequences of alcohol and other drugs in the mining industry go much further than just being related to the work site, as can be seen in this article featured on

FIFO fed my addiction - an ex-employee tells all about drinking on the job

I’d like to ask: what are the societal, company, family and individual expectations that contribute to this sort of situation raised in the article and how do we address these concerns at the root cause?

Any suggestions or stories that you can share? Feel free to add to the comments section. 

How to help keep employees safe after work

Feb 23, 2015 ISS Comments (0)

One thing I really love about my work is that not only do I get to contribute to workplace safety and productivity, there are also flow-on effects that positively impact the wider community.

Think of a transport business with trucks on the road - and how many other vehicles share that space. There are kids being picked up from school. Football teams are heading to the next town to play their arch rivals. Families are returning from holidays at the beach.

It’s not just the truck drivers on company time that need to contribute to road safety. Once a truck driver has parked up back at the depot, they need to be in a state so they can also safely drive their car or ride their motorbike home.

If we know that these drivers are being looked after on the clock and they are in good condition for the commute home, it’s easy to see the flow-on effects. It means that ambulance crews don’t have to deal with so many road accidents, emergency wards don’t have the added pressure of more patients and rehabilitation facilities can deal with other patients instead.

To take it one step further, if there is an accident, it’s easy to see what sort of costs this would have on the business emotionally, physically and financially.

When we remind ourselves that every working is a human being that lives as part of a community, instead of simply a resource unit to be used to its maximum output, many of us appreciate with crystal clear awareness what is ultimately productive, ethical and profitable. In the future such thinking will be common place, but right now very few of us are conceiving of the true web of impact that exists (with both positive and negative possibilities). 

Is your business thinking about the bigger picture in this way? 

What programs do you have in place to encourage employee safety beyond the work place?

How openly acknowledged is it that each worker is a member of the community inside the gates and in the wider world?

Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for your interest, Adam Fletcher

Driverless technology – safety or suicide?

Feb 23, 2015 ISS Comments (0)

The reality of self-driving cars is not as far away as you might think. We already have cars with cruise control, emergency braking and self-parking technology.

Adding the next layers of technology to create driver-less cars is already being tried and tested by Google, Volvo, BMW/Baidu and others.

With new technology, there is also new concerns of how it is used - or abused - highlighted by The Conversation website with their article: 

Data mining the new black box of self-driving cars

The jury seems to be out on whether self-driving cars will create safer roads or could be responsible for causing a major disaster.

Our critical analysis of this exciting period in the automotive industry is that the most increased risks are not so much in the final product of automated technology, but in the transition from manual processes to automated systems.

To paint a simple picture, a manual job demands effort and concentration, whereas a semi-automated job requires less of both. So the semi-automated job can be more dangerous as there is less mental stimulation, lower engagement, and in simple terms it can create a greater likelihood of micro-sleeps. This is the dangerous transition period, as when the job becomes fully automated, there is no human involved who might suffer from fatigue.

It’s this transition period through to full automation for specific roles where Integrated Safety Support can help to implement fatigue prevention strategies at their source, and manage the increased risk exposures in proactive and appropriately reactive ways. The solutions look different on a control panel compared with a commercial vehicle, and different again in an aircraft cockpit to an air traffic operation. 

The solution is nearly here and very few companies are looking at the hump in the road before the promised benefits of automation actually arrive. Please share your thoughts below or with me directly via

Are you sleep deprived?

Feb 18, 2015 ISS Comments (0)

Here’s a very simple test that can help you determine if you are sleep deprived, as featured on

And if you worry about the amount of sleep - or the quality of sleep - you are currently having, here are some simple and easy sleeping tips from Night School Book to set yourself up for a good night’s rest.

Of particular interest is the tip to put down the laptop, tablet and phone two hours before you go to bed. I would add to that – turn off these devices, as anything that beeps is likely to wake you up if you are drifting off to sleep. Also, devices making noises in the night might not be remembered in the morning but that does not mean they have not woken you from a deep sleep into a lighter, less restful slumber. 

Finally, and if keeping devices on in your bedroom didn't already have enough evidence against it, there are the risks of electromagnetic radiation, as indicated in this brief CBS News post. 

Spreading the safety message with Zurich

Feb 13, 2015 ISS Comments (0)

It was  personally very enjoyable to be invited to be a guest speaker at Zurich’s recent road safety forum held in Melbourne and Sydney.

Considering Zurich is Australia’s largest motor insurer, it was an honour to be approached and participate given the high quality Zurich customers who were invited to attend.

I was able talk to some of Australia’s leading CEOs and other leaders in the transport business regarding the human related risks of their industry.

It was interesting for me to see how receptive the delegates were to improving safety, so I’m looking forward to hearing their results as they implement new programs. A key message of my presentation was the critical need to measure the performance of safety initiatives to help inform future investments. 

A bonus for Integrated Safety Support was seeing that our presentation was picked up by leading publications including:

Crash course in road safety highlights technological threats and opportunities as featured on the Strategic Risk website.

The event was also covered by  Insurance Business Online  with their article: Insurer hosts corporate road safety workshop.

If anyone would like a copy of the presentation PowerPoint pack please email me via

Developing healthy sleep patterns - 1950s style...

Feb 09, 2015 ISS Comments (0)

Even though this 1950s clip on good sleeping habits is very cheesy, it’s funny to see how much is still relevant 65 years later:

Sleep for health - 1950s style video


(Thanks to Ian Dunican for finding this flashback.)

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