FATIGUE OR KNOW FATIGUE?

By on July 3, 2003

An attempt to flood the Victorian Extractive Industry with a work place fatigue questionnaire prior to thorough consultation was thwarted on the 2nd May when the CMPA and the VMEC refused to be party to the proposed investigation. 

People at the inaugural project meeting were  stunned that the CMPA did not agree with the content of the questionnaires to be sent to Victorian quarry businesses. 

The CMPA expressed grave concerns at the original questionnaires  which appeared to be geared toward achieving a particular response.   

Management Committee member Mr Tim Bird noted in one of the early meetings that project supervisor, Dr Angela Baker, “admitted that privacy was an issue and that information could be misused once collected.”  Mr Bird’s continued effort in conjunction with John Smith from VECCI, and other members of the  Management Committee has ensured quality control has been exerted on the project and the questionnaires.  Prior to CMPA involvement there was concern that the ramifications of participating in the project may have been detrimental to members.

After much deliberation the CMPA has finally achieved a questionnaire that it believes is much fairer on the participant.  Many businesses may have been sent letters already asking for volunteers to partake in the investigation.   While the CMPA believes that the survey is more equitable than the original it would like to emphasise that participation is strictly voluntary.  If you do not wish to partake, you cannot be forced to become involved. 

Below is a summary of the project that the CMPA requested be made available to members:

From the Department of Primary Industries:

Scope

The purpose and scope of this project is to determine if fatigue is an issue for personnel within the extractive industry in Victoria.  The project represents an initial step for the industry as it moves towards understanding fatigue and identifying associated risks within the workplace.

The approach to be used during the project incorporates both survey and interview techniques.  In addition, a 14-day sleep diary and partner questionnaire will be distributed to those individuals and partners who agree to complete these tools.

Participation in this project is voluntary.  It is anticipated that approximately 45 quarries will be approached to participate representing the various products and regions of Victoria.  Researchers from the Centre for Sleep Research, University of South Australia will be responsible for collecting, analysing and interpreting the data.  An industry report will be tabled in 6 months time (December 2003 – January 2004) dependent on the project commencement date.  The report will not identify individual quarries nor individuals, but will possibly discuss specific groupings within the industry as well as the industry as a whole.  Specific groupings may be based on working time arrangements, rock type and/or roles.

At the completion of the project, industry stakeholders will be provided with information that will enable them to identify and manage (e.g. using policy development, training and educational strategies, roster design and configurations etc) any grouping (e.g. rock type) or area (e.g. rural v. metropolitan) where fatigue has been found to be a concern.  Furthermore, stakeholder participation will determine the next step for the Victorian industry in addressing any fatigue related issues identified by the project.     

The Project Researchers

Dr Angela Baker

Angela is a senior research fellow in the Centre for Sleep Research, University of South Australia.  She has worked extensively as an organisational researcher and consultant acting as an adviser on fatigue and shiftwork management issues to the mining, transport, manufacturing and health sectors.  In addition, she has developed shiftwork and fatigue-based policy and facilitated shiftwork education sessions.  Angela is a regular presenter at both national and international conferences.

Dr Sally Ferguson

Sally is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Centre for Sleep Research, University of South Australia.  Sally has over 10 years experience in the field of biological rhythms and sleep.  Her research has focused on the impact of inadequate sleep on human health and well-being, and investigating ways to improve human sleep.  In addition, she works as an industry consultant in the area of fatigue management.

Peter Ferris

Peter has a Bachelor of Art (Hons) in psychology and has been a research assistant within the Centre for Sleep Research for the past three years.  He has spent the last 2 years working on a fitness for work program in the mining and quarrying industry in South Australia. 

Peter Winwood

Peter is a PhD candidate and has been working within the Centre for Sleep research for the past 18 months.  He has had 30 years experience in private business prior to engaging in further university study.

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