Many workers are exposed to a variety of fatigue hazards such as extended work hours, shift work, high stress environments, production pressure, monotonous tasks, short break period between shifts, inadequate breaks within shifts. Exposure to these hazards increases the risk of fatigue impairment, consequently increasing the risk of safety accidents or impacting production outcomes and business objectives. Where there are identified safety risks there is a legislative obligation to assess, control and reduce those risks to as low a level as is reasonably practicable. A Risk Assessment (RA) is most often the first phase in an organisations journey to develop or improve their Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS).
What are the objectives of a Fatigue Risk Assessment?
The ultimate aim of a Fatigue Risk Assessment is to identifying fatigue risk within an organisation and to control or mitigate that risk to support positive safety and production objectives such as:
- To reduce the risk of workplace accidents/incidents resulting from fatigue.
- To reduce the loss to production as a consequence of lower performance output associated with fatigue and/or fatigue related incidents.
- To reduce the impact of fatigue on workplace and personal relationships.
- To comply with current workplace fitness for work policies.
- To satisfy legislative requirements in relation to risk minimisation.
- To provide the workforce with a clear and demonstrable system for the management of fatigue risk.
- To provide the workforce with a consistent approach to the identification and management of fatigue issues.
- To implement the highest industry standard of workforce fatigue management and be an industry leader in the field of fatigue risk management.
Ethos Health have a range of consultancy services that can support your organisation in conducting comprehensive fatigue risk assessments
What process should be followed when conducting a fatigue risk assessment?
- Mobilise a representative group who are affected by fatigue
Consulting with all affected workgroups and levels of the business is a critical process to understand what happens at the ‘coal face’. Workers represent ‘how work is done’, not always as it is planned or imagined, which helps assess variability within the system.
- Inform of contemporary Fatigue Risk Management Systems
Prior to a fatigue risk assessment all attendees should be informed of legislative requirements and current guidelines detailed fatigue hazards relating to the workgroup and contemporary methods of managing fatigue risk associated with the hazards.
- Adopt a systematic risk-based approach
Working in high risk and changing environments requires adaptable risk management strategies. By applying a risk-based approach, organisations can clearly define when their workers reach certain limits that trigger increasing control measures to mitigate the associated risk.
To establish these limits and control measure a systematic approach should be taken to:
- Review work and non-work related fatigue hazards,
- Analyse the risk,
- Identify current mitigation strategies,
- Develop recommendations for additional controls; and
- Develop a risk treatment plan. This risk treatment plan can then be used to guide the review of operational policy and procedures.
Related Blogs: How to create a Fatigue Risk Management System
How can fatigue subject matter expertise help the risk assessment process?
Our Fatigue Consultants support organisations through a risk assessment process in one of two ways:
- The provision of subject matter expertise for those company’s who have their own internal RA processes, or
- The facilitation of a RA workshop using our own RA template and approach.
In high-risk work environments controls identified to manage the hazards related to fatigue need to be:
- Specified in a procedure or risk assessment,
- Implemented to have the desired mitigating effect,
- Monitored to ensure that it can be verified they are implemented to manage the identified risk.
Ethos Health has helped develop and implement Fatigue Risk Management Systems across a wide range of organisations from a range of industries. Click here to see our range of fatigue services, programs and technology.