SharpDrive’s studies have found that tiredness related collisions are three times more likely to result in death or serious injury, so employers have an obligation to manage the work environment in such a way that driver fatigue does not become a factor in workplace accidents and incidents. Employees also need to know how spot the signs of fatigue and how to prevent it.
Fatigue is more than being tired – it’s physical and/or mental exhaustion, to the extent people are no longer effective or safe at work. Driver fatigue is recognised as a significant hazard in the workplace and, like any workplace hazard, the first priority must be to eliminate it. If this cannot be done then minimization must follow. It cannot be simply ignored. Everybody has a responsibility to ensure no driver is allowed to drive while fatigued.
When a driver is fatigued, their judgement and decision making become badly affected and their reactions are slower than normal. A driver who is fatigued is less able to judge how tired they are, meaning the risk of falling asleep at the wheel is greater, which can have fatal consequences.
Causes of driver fatigue include.
Body clock factors Working when you would normally be asleep or sleeping when you would normally be awake.
Sleep factors Getting less than the normal amount of sleep or getting poor sleep.
Work factors Working very long or extended hours with no time to recover from work.
Health factors Medical sleep problems, general health and lifestyle issues.
One of the ways to identify and manage driver fatigue is to involve your drivers. Drivers have useful operational knowledge so make sure drivers know they can make suggestions, ask questions or raise concerns. Make sure drivers know the signs and symptoms of fatigue so they know what to look out for. Restlessness, blinking frequently, yawning, excessive speed, braking too late and drifting off centre are all possible signs of fatigue.
Educate and support life management skill development Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and sleep disorders can be common in the transport industry and have an impact on fatigue. Make sure you and your drivers understand and comply with work time rules and rest time requirements. Reinforce the legal requirements with drivers and provide education where needed, and monitor and take action where issues are identified, and for more information on online driver safety courses, corporate driver training Australia and defensive driving courses online please go to http://www.sharpdrive.co .