This case study shows how agencies and hosts can be proactive in identifying and managing employee's workplace fatigue.
A small removalist company uses casual labour hire workers to operate vehicles during peak periods.
A supervisor overheard a labour hire heavy-vehicle driver talking about night-shift work and interstate trips. On enquiry, the labour hire worker explained that he often worked extra shifts as he is employed by several labour hire providers.
The supervisor enquired with other casual drivers and determined that most were registered with multiple labour hire providers.
The supervisor contacted her manager to express concern that drivers of heavy vehicles could be working dangerously long hours across multiple shifts with different labour hire providers and without enough breaks. She was concerned about the risk to health and safety due to the drivers being fatigued.
The host employer recognised that employee fatigue posed a significant risk and met with all of the labour hire providers they work with as part of the consultation process. The host employer presented draft questions for inclusion in the labour hire providers' recruitment programs to ensure employees understand and can identify, manage and report fatigue.
The labour hire providers cooperated with the host employer and redesigned their induction programs for all casual heavy-vehicle drivers to include fatigue management training and introduced refresher training to be delivered annually. They also conducted a review of heavy vehicle driver logbooks for those that worked under the Heavy Vehicle National Law, which is applicable in Victoria. The logbooks are completed digitally and provided information to the labour hire provider about record keeping and standard hours for drivers.
The host employer implemented an organisation-wide fatigue-management system to manage and monitor the number of weekly hours worked by each employee. There was a limit on the number of continuous days and nights that can be worked in a fortnight. In addition, the host employer introduced a daily reminder system and an employee declaration from to be completed before each shift. The system reminds employees of the fatigue risks and provides an opportunity to proactively report any fatigue-related issues. Employees are encouraged to speak up if they are feeling fatigued and unable to work without risk.
The labour hire providers and host employers coordinated their response to fatigue for casual heavy-vehicle drivers to ensure they were both reducing the risk to health and safety due to the drivers being fatigued as well as meeting their duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.
Labour hire provider improvements
Provide induction and training relating to fatigue management.
Meet with the host employer regularly to consult and discuss any issues or concerns that have come up regarding the health and safety of the labour hire workers.
Maintain regular communication with labour hire workers to ensure that any health and safety concerns are reported and controls are in place to mitigate the risk.
Keep records of driver conditions and hours to monitor fatigue. Monitor the number of weekly hours worked by each employee.
Host employer improvements
Provide induction, training, and information relating to fatigue management.
Ensure labour hire workers understand how they can raise health and safety issues at work, such as via their health and safety representative.
Consult with the labour hire provider and labour hire workers on occupational health and safety matters, and provide points of contact for health and safety between the organisations.
Implement a fatigue risk management procedure to ensure risks are controlled so far as reasonably practicable.
Daily reminder system to monitor and record any fatigue-related issues and provide information on risks. Continuous monitoring and review of control measures.