Transport operators concerned about fatigue risk management have typically had to engage with consultants for an assessment and solutions.
Given the nature of the service and the expertise involved the recommendations sought through this process come with a significant price premium making the cost involved prohibitive for many organisations.
With Workplace Health and Safety Legislation imputing governance responsibilities right up and down the supply chain this looms as a major stumbling block for many in the industry.
Legislation, under chain of responsibility, has evolved past the point of penalising truck drivers for driving with undue care. Now the people responsible for the culture that allowed the poor decision-making at a company will also be personally and criminally liable.
More than ever it’s vital that directors and board members are across what’s happening from a broader workplace and health perspective, many of whom lack visibility on where they fail to properly meet their fatigue risk management compliance.
Fatiguefit has emerged in response to the need to have a fast, easy to use and cost-effective fatigue risk management solution for carriers who might be exposed.
Developed by Sleepfit Solutions, an Australian digital health company in partnership with Professor Drew Dawson, a leading expert in fatigue risk management, Fatiguefit consists of an online assessment and report which allows businesses both large and small, to determine if they are complying with their fatigue risk management legal requirements.
At present, there is a misunderstanding among many industry people that the enterprise bargaining agreement is actually their fatigue management policy.
While it does indicate acceptable working time arrangements it’s not actually a safety document.
It is estimated that 85 per cent of companies who should be doing something about fatigue risk, like those in road transport, energy, logistics and mining, aren’t necessarily.
Fatiguefit has automated the process so operators don’t have to spend a fortune to hire consultants. The initial aim, according to Steven Perlen, Fatiguefit Chief Operating Officer, was to create a ‘consultant in a box’ that was scalable, accessible, cheap and within reach of any organisation.
“By putting information, tools and training in the hands of the businesses that need it, Fatiguefit not only keeps people safe, but it keeps the business safe as well,” he says. “It allows people to maintain control and gives them risk management choices, rather than having an expert dictate what they need to do.”
As an online digital platform Fatiguefit allows businesses of any size to undertake their own fatigue risk management compliance assessment in around 15 minutes and only costs $99.
It’s evidence based and provides the operator with a legally and scientifically defensible position. Fatiguefit then provides a set of tools and templates to close any compliance gaps, covering policy, training and risk identification and mitigation.
Importantly, operators using Fatiguefit can pick and choose the solutions they use to cover those gaps and implement them in their own time.
In short, they can integrate their fatigue risk management with their other operational demands and existing safety systems, including fatigue detection technologies. That way they take control of the process and can do it in a very cost-effective way.
“The Assessment and Report provides clear understanding of where the compliance gaps are for fatigue risk management,” says Steven. “It gives businesses visibility of where their exposure lies so people can make informed decisions about managing their risk.”
Recognising that different organisations are going to want to manage their compliance differently, the Fatiguefit team can also provide additional expert support for businesses that are looking for a little more guidance.
Professor Drew Dawson, the Australian expert who helped create Fatiguefit, notes fatigue risk is hard to assess.
“This is because the person is the actual hazard rather than a third party such as a chemical spill or a saw without a blade cover,” he says. “With a people risk like fatigue, the hazard is somewhat invisible.”
While Fatiguefit has been created to minimise fatigue risk, it also features tools to help minimise fatigue itself. Sleepfit, for instance, allows individuals to determine the likelihood that they have a treatable sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnoea, prevalent issues amongst the driver community, and then get treatment.
“Better sleep quality means improved rest and recovery which equates to greater productivity and reduced fatigue risk,” says Steven. Fatiguefit isn’t however, as Steven points out, about eliminating fatigue.
“That’s unreasonable — it’s about ensuring people can continue to work safely whilst fatigued,” he says.
Fatiguefit has been designed to help businesses of all sizes. Smaller firms will do one assessment and then decide who in their team are the highest priority for the risk management activities. Bigger companies may run separate assessments across multiple depots to get visibility across their entire operation.
This will guide their decisions on where to focus the implementation of the Fatiguefit solutions. And for Tier 1 companies that already have confidence in the procedures they have in place to manage their own employees, Fatiguefit can be used as a platform to work with their subbies to ensure that they are meeting their COR obligations.
“Whether your business has six trucks or 6000 trucks you can use the Fatiguefit platform in different ways to achieve that scientifically and legally defensible position for your fatigue risk management.” says Steven.