We know that fatigue can adversely affect safety at the workplace. It reduces alertness, which may lead to errors and an increase in incidents and injuries, not to mention its long-term health risks.
Companies need to be more cognisant of their work health and safety (WHS) obligations following the tightening of regulations and possible consequences of neglecting responsibilities. The release of Marie Boland’s independent review of WHS laws earlier this year has brought this to the forefront, with her recommendations including tougher penalties for breaches and the introduction of industrial manslaughter laws.
Unsurprisingly, psychological health and safety was one of the most frequently raised issues by stakeholders during the Boland Review. This is perhaps to be expected, given that Safe Work Australia data shows that workplace psychological injuries are one of the most costly forms of workplace injury, and many business owners are uncertain about how to address psychological health in the workplace. There has been a shift in the last few years to place more emphasis on psychosocial risks and injuries in the workplace, which can include fatigue, mental health issues, harassment, and bullying.
Part of the strategy to address these psychosocial risks should include robust fatigue management, as we know that major long-term health risks associated with fatigue include mental health issues, namely depression and anxiety.