In a mining setting, with heavy machinery, dangerous equipment and major hazards, fatigue is a matter of life or death.
This is why legislation, recommendations and guidelines have been well researched in recent years, with outcomes that improve the way sites operate resulting in better safety measures, including advances in fatigue monitoring technology.
But the fact remains, there are a lot of contributing factors when it comes to fatigue, so, what are the elements mining companies and workers alike must consider?
When the shift ends, until the time it starts, there is much more to be done than simply sleep, it includes social and healthy lifestyle activities as well as wind-down after and preparation before the next shift. Shift rosters should take into account a healthy length sleep, as well as being flexible enough to allow workers to commute, shower and dress, exercise and socialise.
A good environment for sleep is vital to good sleep quality – this includes conditions within the room such as air quality, bedding, temperature, screen time, and proximity to noise or lighting. This encompasses camp design – how far away from noise, social hubs, canteens, strong lighting, are sleeping quarters.
Isolation and loneliness are real hurdles facing FIFO workers. Being separated from their families and social networks can take a toll, leading to unhealthy habits like alcohol abuse, overeating, stress, depression, and anxiety which interrupt quality sleep. Measures to support workers are of great importance to fatigue and mental health.
Obesity is a real problem facing FIFO industries. Excess weight is linked to numerous health concerns, as well as poor sleep – which causes unhealthy choices, which exacerbate sleep problems. Healthy intervention is needed to prevent these problems arising or worsening.
With a working community conscious of these factors as well as continued changes from the top, health, safety and fatigue management on FIFO mining sites will continue their upward improvement trend.
Premium Mechanical Group is passionate about workplace health and safety and creating a ‘better place to work’. We prioritise our employees and are committed to fostering a safe and inclusive work environment.