Why is it important?
There is nothing more frustrating than having an extremely important project needing completion, and no one to get the job done. The easiest solution is usually to ask employees to take on a few extra hours. It helps get the work completed, and everyone is happy with the extra pay. That’s where it ends, right?
Not quite. Employees working long shifts can come back to bite you. Not only do you have to spend more money on wages and overtime payments, but also fatigue levels can increase dramatically. In a recent Workers Compensation Commission case an employee died as a result of extreme fatigue levels after working extended hours with insufficient breaks. An employee has the right to refuse to work overtime, if the request is seen as unreasonable. Many employees may not know what is reasonable or not, so it is important to keep on top of the workload being given to employees and to ensure that they are not working themselves into the ground.
As an employer, you have a duty of care towards your employees that extends further than your work place. If increased fatigue levels leads to an accident on their way to or from work, you may be held liable. The easiest way to ensure that this does not happen is to have a fatigue management plan in place and to ensure that all employees are aware of the risks of fatigue and how to combat them.
If you are looking for a fatigue management plan, or simply some more information on how to create a safer working environment for your employees contact us on (08) 9316 9896.
For more information on the Workers Compensation Commission case, see Padden v Panoramic Traffic Control Pty Ltd & ORS