Shift Work Fatigue: How can you protect your employees?

Benchmark Results Health & Wellbeing

Health and Safety Index – Sleep Benchmark Results

The Health and Safety Index is an effective way to obtain feedback from your entire workforce and put their voices in one place, eg, Safety Leadership, Health and Wellbeing, Safety Engagement and Safety Systems. The Health and Safety Index benchmark data has found reported sleep performance from shiftworkers to be 13% lower compared to the non-shiftworker population.

Reported Sleep Performance

Whilst we know that shiftwork and working at night increases the risk of accidents, incidents and injuries, we do not know much about interventions and their efficacy in shiftwork operations.”

– Dr Ian C Dunican

Fatigue is an interesting area that has the potential to impact both safety AND health. Of the four Health and Safety Index aspects, Health and Wellbeing is the poorest result among shiftworkers at 67%, or 6% lower than non-shiftworkers.

Non-Shiftworker vs Shiftworker

Managing Roster Changes

When managing fatigue and changing rosters, there are several actions organisations can take, such as:

  • Evaluate codes of practice – WA COVID-19: Managing modified rosters and fatigue
  • Consult the workforce about any proposed policies and/or changes that will impact them
  • Conduct a qualitative fatigue risk assessment
  • Conduct a semi-quantitative fatigue risk assessment, e.g. biofeedback to measure analyse sleep behaviour1
  • Survey feedback to understand  anthtropometry, demographics, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), Sleep Quality, Daytime Sleepiness, Insomnia, Shiftworker Disorder, Alcohol Use and other lifestyle factors.    
  • Communicate proposed changes and additional controls

Current Research

As part of a PhD program supported by the Australian Government Research Training Program and the Melius Consulting Industry Engagement Scholarship, we have published a methodology paper. This project was led by Gemma Maisey and co-authored by Marcus Cattani, Amanda Devine, Johnny Lo and Ian Dunican.

You can view this paper with full free access here1Maisey, Gemma, Cattani, Marcus, Devine, Amanda, Lo, Johnny & Dunican, Ian C. (2021). “The Sleep of Shift Workers in a Remote Mining Operation: Methodology for a Randomized Control Trial to Determine Evidence-Based Interventions.” Frontiers in Neuroscience 14: 1380.

If you would like to discuss such a program for your organisation, please get in touch.

Dr Ian C Dunican, [email protected]

To find out more about the Health and Safety Index and how to can obtain feedback at scale, Contact us

M: +61 417 570 143

E: [email protected]


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