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The Fatigue Insider Blog

Fatigue and Psychosocial WHS Risks

Sep 04, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

We know that fatigue can adversely affect safety at the workplace. It reduces alertness, which may lead to errors and an increase in incidents and injuries, not to mention its long-term health risks.
 
Companies need to be more cognisant of their work health and safety (WHS) obligations following the tightening of regulations and possible consequences of neglecting responsibilities. The release of Marie Boland’s independent review of WHS laws earlier this year has brought this to the forefront, with her recommendations including tougher penalties for breaches and the introduction of industrial manslaughter laws.
 
Unsurprisingly, psychological health and safety was one of the most frequently raised issues by stakeholders during the Boland Review. This is perhaps to be expected, given that Safe Work Australia data shows that workplace psychological injuries are one of the most costly forms of workplace injury, and many business owners are uncertain about how to address psychological health in the workplace. There has been a shift in the last few years to place more emphasis on psychosocial risks and injuries in the workplace, which can include fatigue, mental health issues, harassment, and bullying.
 
Part of the strategy to address these psychosocial risks should include robust fatigue management, as we know that major long-term health risks associated with fatigue include mental health issues, namely depression and anxiety.

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What is blue light?

Apr 03, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

Blue light is the higher energy, shorter wavelengths on the visible light spectrum. It occurs naturally, with the highest levels occurring during the middle of the day. Blue light is also emitted from devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers, and white-coloured LED lights.


 

So if it occurs naturally, blue light can't be that bad for us, right? Blue light is necessary to set and regulate our circadian rhythm, which is done so by photoreceptor cells in our eyes. Therefore, exposure to blue light during daytime hours is certainly a positive. We can also use exposure to blue light in the morning to advance our circadian rhythm, helping those who want to move their sleep to an earlier time - a great way to avoid jet lag!

But too much blue light exposure from our devices later on in the day and throughout the night can delay and disrupt our circadian rhythm, causing sleep disruptions and potential fatigue. Exposure to bright daylight outside may reduce the sensitivity of the circadian system to light exposure at night, but we still recommend to put your devices down before heading to bed, and perhaps relaxing with some tunes or a good book!

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

 

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Is fatigue costing your business?

Mar 06, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

 

Fatigue can be a hidden risk in the workplace, costing businesses millions of dollars a year. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, it is estimated that 7.4 million Australian adults do not regularly get the sleep they need, resulting in productivity losses of $17.9 billion.

Lack of sleep significantly reduces productivity within the workplace through absenteeism, presenteeism and decreased engagement. This also increases the risk of errors and injury in the workplace.

Fatigue can impact those who:

  • Sleep fewer hours than recommended (due to work and/or personal factors)
  • Shift work
  • Frequently work extended hours
  • Travel for work
  • Work multiple jobs

Things you can do to reduce the likelihood of fatigue in the workplace include:

For more information on fatigue in the workplace, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.
 


 

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REM - The sleeping brain's favourite tune

Oct 24, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

"When the day is long... And the night, the night is yours alone" to sleep a full 7-8 hours! Although it may seem like your body ‘shuts down’ during sleep, it is an active time for your brain and many physiological processes. During sleep, your brain goes through different stages, with some lighter stages of sleep (referred to as stages 1 and 2), and some deeper stages of sleep (stages 3 and 4). There is also a fifth stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement sleep, or REM sleep. It is during this stage that your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes more irregular and dreams are most likely to occur.

A normal night-time sleep period occurs in cycles of approximately 90 minutes. The duration of sleep stages within each cycle changes throughout the night and varies person to person. Typically, a sleep cycle will begin with a period of non-REM sleep followed by a very short period of REM sleep. The duration of REM sleep increases with the cycles while you are sleeping. Throughout a full night's rest, the average person will spend 20-25% of their sleep in REM.


REM sleep is the restorative part of our sleep cycle. It is very important for emotion regulation and memory and is also the peak of protein synthesis at the cellular level, which keeps many processes in the body working properly. Decreased sleep duration interferes primarily with REM sleep and dreaming since the body devotes deeper non-REM sleep to shorter hours of sleep. A recent study has shown that REM sleep loss is associated with increased inflammatory responses, increased risk for obesity, and memory problems.

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

 

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Fatigued cabin crew

Oct 03, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

The airline industry is a growing 24/7 operation, boasting an estimated 39 million flights to be flown worldwide by the end of 2018. Flying passengers across the country, or even across the globe, can create a variety of different challenges for cabin crew, including extended duty periods, highly variable schedules, possible frequent time zone changes, and increased passenger loads.

A study has shown a link between the job characteristics of cabin crew and fatigue. The graph below is an indication of the main work factors that contribute to fatigue amongst cabin crew workers, according to union representatives. Long hours and lack of rest are seen as the main offenders.


 

Other factors that may contribute to cabin crew fatigue include, but are not limited to:

  • Consecutive duty days
  • Length of layovers
  • Timezone changes
  • Delays
  • Availability for breaks
  • Availability of a healthy meal
  • Passenger disruption
  • Aircraft type swaps

In 2016, a bill was pass that requires airlines to provide cabin crew with a minimum 10-hour rest period between shifts, matching the requirement for pilots. The bill also included a requirement for cabin crew to be included in Fatigue Risk Management Systems, which until that point was only applied to pilots.

In Australia, there are currently no civil aviation regulations governing duty times and rest requirements for cabin crew. Their duty limitations are set contractually, and minimum standards are set by the country in which the cabin crew are employed. Cabin crew are our first responders to a safety event - is it time they are included in fatigue regulations?

 

For more information on cabin crew fatigue, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is napping at work the new norm?

Sep 26, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Tired or fatigued employees can have a significant effect in the workplace, reducing productivity through personal days, reduced hours and a general decline in efficiency while working. The solution is simple, and no, it does not involve drinking copious amounts of coffee. Studies have shown napping to be quite beneficial, improving alertness and performance.

 

Workplaces around the world, such as some air traffic control organisations, have formalised a controlled napping procedure, where naps are built into a controller's daily schedule. The most beneficial nap we would recommend is one of 20-25 minutes in length, however, even a 10-minute power nap is enough to improve one's cognitive function and reaction time. 

 

It is advisable to limit your naps to less than 30 minutes, in order to minimise sleep inertia -  the period of impaired performance and grogginess experienced after waking - and allow yourself to wake up.

 

Join us in Singapore for our Fatigue Management & Human Factors in our 24-hour Society event in March 2019 to find out more about what the current research tells us about naps. For more information on napping, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.

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Avoiding travel burnout

Sep 19, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Here at ISS, we are often on the road (or in the air) travelling to meet and work with our clients. As much as our friends and family may be jealous of our frequent travels, we all know full well that it’s not a holiday! For those who travel for work, as much as we may love it, there's is no denying that travelling can be exhausting - we're yet to hear from someone who loves unpacking and repacking!

So what do we do to keep travel burnout at bay?

  • Keep up our healthy habits - Maintaining a healthy diet & increasing our hydration is really important. We often carry protein-packed snacks and keep our fluids up by drinking 1above.
  • Use supplements and equipment to help us with jet lag - we're big on using things such as melatonin, personal humidifier masks and light therapy glasses so we can hit the ground running without jet lag hitting us too hard.
  • Exercise - We always pack our joggers! It's good to get out and get some fresh air and vitamin D. This also really helps with jet lag.
  • Attempt to become a local - Before we head to our new destination, we like to research things like a go-to coffee shop, the closest gym and best places to work from remotely. This helps to feel more at home, without having to scramble to find things once we arrive. 
  • Plan our flights - Where possible, we always try to travel the most direct route. It can be very tiring having multiple and/or long layovers.
  • Take a break - It's really important to get some downtime, especially with friends and family, to feel refreshed and ready to go.
For more information on avoiding fatigue while travelling, click on the links below to some of our previous blog posts, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.

Around the world in... 52 hours?

Melatonin - should you use it?

Beware of the dark side: using light to reduce jet lag

High & dry: keeping hydrated while flying

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