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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Education and Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Workplaces urged to manage fatigue in the Christmas rush

    Education and Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Workplaces urged to manage fatigue in the Christmas rush

    Queensland workplaces are being warned against taking shortcuts with health and safety in the annual rush to finish work before Christmas.

    Industrial Relations Minister Cameron Dick today urged employers and workers to heed advice from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland to avoid the dangers of fatigue.

    “Many workplaces, including retailers, road transport companies, tradespeople and manufacturers, are at their busiest at this time of year and staff are working long hours to complete jobs before the holidays start,” Mr Dick said.

    “Working when mentally or physically exhausted impairs a person’s ability to think clearly, which is vital when making safety-related decisions.”

    Mr Dick said fatigue could result from prolonged periods of physical or mental effort without enough time to rest and recover.

    “Studies have shown that people who stay awake for 17 hours can impair performance as badly as if they were driving over the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.05%,” he said.

    “Staying awake for 21 hours straight is equivalent to double the legal drink driving limit.

    “The level of fatigue varies for individuals and depends on workload, length of shift, previous hours and days worked, time of day or night worked and driving times to and from work.”

    Mr Dick said managing fatigue was a shared responsibility between employers and their workers, as it involved factors both inside and outside of work.

    “Employers and business operators are responsible under workplace health and safety legislation for protecting their workers from the adverse effects of fatigue,” he said.

    “Workers must ensure they are fit for duty and should raise any concerns about workloads and work pressures such as deadlines with their supervisor or workplace health and safety officer or representative.

    “Common effects associated with fatigue include lack of concentration, poor judgment and decision-making, reduced capacity for interpersonal communication and slower reaction times.

    “Fatigue can also reduce hand -eye coordination, visual perception and vigilance.”

    Managing fatigue: a guide for workplaces has information to help employers and workers manage the risks of fatigue, and people who work outside of normal hours can find specific advice in the Managing fatigue: handy tips for shift workers guide.

    Both guides are available free from or the Workplace Health and Safety Infoline on 1300 369 915.

    Media contact: Minister for Industrial Relations 3237 1000