Shift Work and Safe Driving

Many industries in Australia have adopted shift work rosters to increase productivity and maximise utilisation of equipment/resources on projects. Mining / Civil Construction both come to mind first – but many other industries also engage shift workers.

Employers must always consider the safety of workers when both on-site and when driving to and from site. With 10 or 12 hour shifts – drivers are faced with a number of challenges relating to fatigue.

Other factors are the reduced resting hours between shifts and in most cases drivers are driving during sunrise and sunset.

What makes this even more dangerous is the fact that drivers ending a shift are driving head on-towards those starting a shift who may be tired also.

In many locations  Рcompanies have engaged a bus service to get Drive in Drive out workers to sites however this only works in some areas and in the majority of cases Рdrivers are still on the road before and after shift.

What can be done to improve driver safety?

It is important to encourage drivers to swap/car pool if traveling the same route often. This will help prevent the complacency that comes with familiar roads.

Drivers should be provided with ample time to prepare for end of shift / hand over and the drive home without stretching the total amount of hours on each shift. In some cases it may be a good idea to review the trip details and start and finish the shift earlier.

It would be good practice to hold regular meetings to discuss the risks associated with driving to-from work and how to identify and manage the risks.

The mining industry, construction industry and industries like security and health services should all have a driving plan to keep drivers safe.

Defensive driving is a great way to equip drivers with the skill and knowledge to stay safe however each workplace has a different environment and risks that need to be closely monitored to maintain safety at all times.

Performance Driving Australia can assist with the development or auditing of driving policy and procedures when it comes to safety.

If you are a shift worker – make sure you are aware of the risks associated with drives to and from work and how to identify and manage them so that you remain safe at all times.

More information can be found by visiting www.performancedrivingaustralia.com