Integrated Safety Support
Sign up to stay informed

The Fatigue Insider Blog

Fatigue Risk Management in EMS

Oct 31, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Fatigue continues to be a widespread problem for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel. Both mental and physical fatigue can affect EMS personnel, due to the intensity of the job and working shifts, which we know disrupts normal patterns of sleep and circadian rhythms. Studies have found significantly higher levels of fatigue and mental health issues amongst paramedics, as well as significantly poorer sleep quality compared to other industries.

Near misses and accidents involving EMS personnel, where fatigue was a contributing factor, continue to occur. Earlier this year, an Emergency Medical Technician in the USA was killed when the technician driving the ambulance fell asleep at the wheel, colliding into another vehicle.

Evidence-based Guidelines for Fatigue Risk Management in EMS were recently published in the Prehospital Emergency Care journal recommend:

  • The use of fatigue surveys to measure and monitor fatigue in EMS personnel
  • Shifts to be shorter than 24 hours in duration
  • Access to caffeine as a fatigue countermeasure
  • The opportunity to nap while on duty in order to mitigate fatigue
  • Education and training on fatigue-related risks
 
The guidelines also remind us that fatigue management is a shared responsibility between EMS personnel and employers.

For more information on fatigue risk management in EMS, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.


 
READ MORE
Driver fatigue - it's not all about microsleeps

Oct 17, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

A lot of us have been fatigued behind the wheel and battled to keep our focus on the road. We've relied on the usual tactics to try to keep ourselves awake including winding the windows down and belting out our best rendition of Madonna as it's blaring through the speakers (ok, maybe just some of us!). Nodding off, or experiencing microsleeps, is really the worst case scenario. But being fatigued while driving can be enough to impair you alone, without actually experiencing a microsleep. 

Someone who is fatigued will often experience slower reaction times, reduced ability to concentrate and delays in interpreting information. Driving in this state could easily result in a traffic incident or accident. 

The human body will naturally cycle through intervals of sleepiness and alertness, better known as the circadian rhythm. The window of circadian low (WOCL) is a period between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. for those adapted to a usual day-wake/night-sleep schedule. During the WOCL, a reduction in physical & mental performance, alertness and body temperature. We also experience a low in the circadian rhythm in the afternoon, known as the postprandial dip, commonly referred to as the post-lunch dip or siesta time. According to the New Zealand Government's Ministry of Transport, fatigue-related fatal and serious injury crashes peak during the WOCL and postprandial dip.

To avoid driver fatigue, we recommend to:

  • Avoid driving during periods when you would normally asleep
  • Allow yourself some time to wake up from your sleep before driving
  • Share the driving where possible
  • Plan breaks every 2 hours when driving for long periods of time
  • Have a coffee nap (read our previous blog post here)

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


 


 

 

READ MORE
Are sleeping pills a good option?

Oct 10, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Have you ever been prescribed sleeping pills? Prescription medication to aid sleep during times of transient sleep loss can provide much-needed relief. They can be quite effective at helping you fall asleep, however, if misused it is very easy to become dependent on the use of the medication, either physically or emotionally.

 

In a 2012 study, researchers compared over 10,000 people who took sleeping pills with nearly twice as many people with similar health histories who did not take sleeping pills. It was found that those who took sleeping pills were more than four times as likely to have died during the study’s 2.5-year follow-up as those who didn’t take them. While the study shows an association between sleeping pills and death, it does not prove them as the cause. The problem may lie in overuse or activities that are undertaken while experiencing the drowsy side-effects of sleeping pills, such as driving or operating heavy machinery. 

 

Sleeping pills are not the long-term answer to sleep problems and should only be used for short periods of time because of tolerance to the drug and the risk of dependency. It is important to follow the advice given to you by your doctor. Also, never take sleeping pills when travelling on aircraft. As tempting as it can be to take them to help you sleep on the plane, they effectively immobilise you, increasing the risk of DVT dramatically due to blood pooling, usually in the lower part of the body. Click on some of our older blog posts below the best tips to battle jet lag without sleeping pills:

 

High & Dry: Keeping hydrated while flying

Beware of the Dark Side: Using light to reduce jet lag

Melatonin - should you use it?

Around the world in... 52 hours?

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

 

READ MORE
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.

READ MORE
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

READ MORE
Owner of a lonely heart

Sep 12, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Are you a shift worker? Or perhaps you work long or odd hours, affecting the amount of social time and sleep you get? Ironically, sleep is often seen as something that can hold us back from social activity. However, the opposite seems to actually be the case.  

A recent study from the University of California, Berkeley, has found that loneliness and social isolation may be linked to a lack of sleep. The small study of 18 young adults found the more sleep deprived someone is, the less social they become. This social withdrawal is seen by others that the sleep-deprived person wants to be left alone, reinforcing the cycle of social withdrawal. Previous studies have also shown that people who struggle with loneliness, also have trouble sleeping.

Humans are inherently social beings, and it's clear that sleep helps us reconnect with our social circles. So, make sure you get sufficient shut-eye and schedule in that coffee catch-up you've been meaning to pen into your diary!

For more information on sleep and emotions, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.
READ MORE
Fighting fatigue

Aug 28, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

The national defence research agency of Singapore, DSO National Laboratories (DSO) have been busy developing a driver fatigue system. The system monitors fatigue by using an eye tracker and EEG (Electroencephalography) to detect sleep spindles - the sudden bursts of oscillatory brain activity that occurs when you are sleepy. It intervenes 10 minutes before a driver falls asleep by vibrating on the zygomatic area of the head, which has a direct connection to the part of the brain that wakes one up.

The technology was developed to help keep defence personnel safe when driving long distances in training. However, it can also be applied in other 24-hour industries.  


Frederick Tey, Program Manager from the DSO National Laboratories “A lot of times we think that we can probably try and go that extra mile, but the moment you go into microsleep, that very split second, you could end up in an accident”. For more on the work from Frederick Tey, click here.

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

READ MORE
1 2 3 4 5 .. 8