Digitalisation and smart mines, Features, Safety systems and solutions, Work health and safety

The Ethos of fatigue management

fatigue, worker, ethos health

Ethos Health has developed an app that supports workers and frontline leaders manage fatigue risks in their workplace. 

Fatigue can affect anyone.

This is especially true for those working in the mining sector, where hours are often 24–7 and the work intensity is often high, with longer daily work hours and extended sequences of shifts, particularly night shift.

To combat this potential danger, Ethos Health developed FatigueTech, which allows workplaces to automate their fatigue risk management system with a view of minimising the chance of related incidents.

The team at Ethos Health is now gearing up to release FatigueTech 2.0, providing an extra boost to workplaces looking to better manage risks.

“FatigueTech 2.0 brings a whole range of improvements to existing features, and some new features as well,” Ethos Health chief executive officer Dr Trent Watson told Safe to Work.

Watson outlined the ways FatigueTech 2.0 makes it easier for workplaces to meet health and safety obligations and to help workers with fatigue management.

“The app supports the implementation and monitoring of a fatigue risk management system,” he said. “The app also has a platform that will support and engage individuals to learn more about fatigue risk and strategies to manage it.”

FatigueTech 2.0 can plug into a workplace’s time and attendance system to notify a worker and their supervisor if someone has worked beyond their work hour guidelines. At this point, the employee will be prompted to do a fatigue check on the app.

“Another element of the app is that supervisors can see if an employee is at high risk of experiencing fatigue that day,” Watson said.

“It gives them the opportunity to go and check in with that employee and make sure they’re fit to work in whatever task they’re doing that day.”

FatigueTech 2.0 also features a journey management plan to ensure any employees travelling to and from the site are safe before, during and after their travel.

“We’ve also added a scheduling function,” Watson said. “So if a site needs two extra people to do an overtime shift, the app will recalculate the working hours of whoever puts their hand up for the shift, ensuring that the working hours are kept within guidelines.”

The main goal for FatigueTech 2.0 is to provide the data, transparency and knowledge that is crucial when it comes to fatigue management.

ethos health
FatigueTech 2.0 automates fatigue risk management. Image: Ethos Health

“The app has an interface for scheduled work hours so it makes it easy for supervisors to go in and see, at a glance, who they can roster on and who has already exceeded their working hours,” Watson said.

“We know fatigue is one of the key health risks in mining. Given it’s a 24–7 workplace, it’s important that these things are managed well.”

To support the app, Ethos Health has also released its online Knowledge Centre. The site provides information on fatigue and its associated risks.

“Those wanting to learn more about their own personal risks can actually do a survey online and it will show them what their risk factors are,” Watson said. 

“It then points them to self-directed help if there are any risks identified.”

“For people with more complex needs, there’s the virtual subject-matter expert who they can sit down with and receive referrals for additional support if needed.”

For Ethos Health, it all comes down to ensuring the right information is in the right people’s hands to prevent an incident from occurring.

“Responsibility, transparency, support and shared action are four of the most important elements in health and safety,” Watson said. “Without transparency, there’s no one taking responsibility and it’s unlikely that will lead to shared action.

“Everyone wants to do well at work – they don’t want to be perceived as not being up to a task – but there shouldn’t be any shame in feeling fatigued.

“Everyone, no matter their life or circumstances, experiences fatigue at some point. The key is getting people to understand their personal needs and giving them the support to manage them.

“A big part of managing fatigue is having safeguards within the workplace, so by virtue of getting the data from the app, mines are getting guidance on how they can better cater for the various needs of their workforce. While FatigueTech 2.0 can help manage fatigue when it becomes a problem, it is also about stopping that problem from starting.”

This feature also appears in the March-April issue of Safe to Work.

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