ALLOWING employees time to sleep at work as part of fatigue management is not necessary, according to three Orange businesses.
A new workplace fatigue management code of practice proposed by Safe Work Australia says employers should include rest periods in the work schedule and accommodate napping and sleeping if necessary.
Lifestyle factors should also be included when scheduling work hours.
“If a worker leaves their job tired and exhausted they may be less able to enjoy out-of-work activities or could be a danger to themselves and others in the community,” the document says.
The draft code of practice also recommends “safety critical” work should be scheduled outside the low body clock periods of 2am to 6am and 2pm to 4pm.
Ron Finemore Transport Orange general manager Darren Wood said introducing a code of practice would not solve the problem of fatigue in Australian workplaces.
“We’re heavily regulated as it is now and I don’t think another code of practice coming in will help,” he said.
“Our customers demand services 24/7 therefore our skills and what we get paid to do comes down to managing people’s ability to work.”
Mr Wood says they already have measures in place to manage fatigue, including recording of driver hours and a driver swap program if employees are too tired to keep driving.
In addition, Ron Finemore Transport Orange provides bedrooms with en-suites at their depot and a flat in Anson Street where drivers can sleep between shift.
“Drivers are taught lifestyle skills and practices to manage fatigue,” he said.
McCarthy’s Pharmacy pharmacist-in-charge Fred Hellqvist said there were already adequate guidelines in place from the Pharmacy Board of Australia (PBA).
“Pharmacies have always had trigger points for fatigue,” he said.
Under the PBA guidelines, Mr Hellqvist says additional staff must be working once the workload reaches a set level.
He says it is not practical to introduce a code of practice, especially for smaller pharmacies.
“If there’s not a pharmacist in the store the dispensary would have to shut down and the store would have to shut,” he said.
Cisco Electrical owner Jeff Cisco says while safety is the most important factor, the employees need to be conscious and careful themselves.
“Fatigue management may be the next step in liability management,” he said.
Are you too tired to work?
* Headaches and/or dizziness
* Wandering or disconnected thoughts, daydreaming, lack of concentration
* Constant yawning, a drowsy relaxed feeling or falling asleep at work
* Moodiness, such as irritability
* Short-term memory problems
* Low motivation
* Impaired decision-making and judgment
* Slowed reflexes and responses
* Reduced immune system function
* Increased errors