Managing shift work and workplace fatigue

Every business and industry is affected by fatigue; however some types of work and sectors have an inherently higher risk, particularly when shift work is involved. 

Today’s society is increasingly focused on a 24/7 economy and the expectations on people to work at all hours of the day have increased. 

Research shows that shift work and irregular or long working hours, can adversely affect the health, safety and wellbeing of workers. Fatigue management is critical and everyone in the workplace has a responsibility to ensure fatigue doesn’t create a work health and safety risk. 

Four expert panellists explore the effects of shift work and fatigue and the latest research in this area. They highlight that it’s a complex problem and there is not a one size fits all solution. 

Panellists also discuss practical ways that organisations can mitigate the risks associated with shift work and fatigue, including good work design, encouraging a culture where workers feel comfortable to speak up and technological solutions. 

Dr Johannes Gärtner – case study 

Dr Johannes Gärtner shares the story of a steel mill in Austria that reduced working hours to retain employees and found many benefits. 

Who is this seminar for? 

This panel discussion will be of interest to leaders and managers in organisations that employ shift workers, those who have responsibility for rostering and shift workers themselves. Researchers, HR and safety professionals with an interest in fatigue management or shift work may also find this video relevant. 

About the presenters 

[At the time of recording] 

Hans Van Dongen is the Director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center and a Professor in the College of Medicine at Washington State University Spokane. He is internationally known for his research on cumulative cognitive deficits due to chronic sleep restriction, trait inter-individual differences in vulnerability to fatigue, mathematical modelling of fatigue and cognitive performance, and fatigue risk management. 

Claudia Moreno is Associate Professor at the School of Public Health, University of São Paulo, Brazil. Her areas of study include circadian rhythms, sleep, diseases among shift workers and the work population in general. Claudia is also an affiliated researcher at the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, Sweden and board member of the Brazilian Sleep Society. 

Diane Boivin is Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University and Director of the Centre for Study and Treatment of Human Circadian Rhythms at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. Her research interests cover the problem of maladaptation to shift work, jet lag, fatigue risk management, sex differences in circadian rhythms and the role of circadian rhythms in various medical and psychiatric conditions. 

Professor Drew Dawson, Director of the Appleton Institute at Central Queensland University, is an internationally acclaimed sleep scientist who is recognised for his work in the areas of sleep and fatigue research, organisational psychology and human behaviour, industrial relations negotiations, and the human implications of hours of work. 

Supporting information

Document type
Video and audio
Tag by Category
Tag by Topic
Good work design