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Do not ignore safety risks with fatigue at work: NSC



To reduce workplace injuries, companies should address workplace fatigue, experts said on Wednesday at the virtual National Safety Council Safety Congress & Expo .

When most people think of disability, they focus on drug abuse rather than fatigue, says Claire Stroer, Disabled Program Director for the National Safety Council, during a training session.

NSC recently redefined its definition of disability to include the impact of fatigue on workplace safety, with a recent study conducted by Itasca, Illinois-based Council, which found that 13% of occupational injuries are attributed to fatigue and that 77% of employers have expressed concern about the impact of fatigue on the suitability of the workforce

“It is a complex issue. When we measure alertness … at what point do we take action? "Says Daniel Mollicone, Seattle ̵

1; based CEO of Pulsar Informatics Inc., which has created psychomotor tests for the aerospace industry to help employers identify tariff deficits. "(Fatigue) is a risk factor that is not fully visible."

Although employers may make an impression, there is a risk of worsening fatigue among employees, but there has been no system to quantitatively monitor it, compared to addiction, he said.

Joe Gallagher, Head of Health, Safety and Environmental Quality at PHI Health LLC, part of Phoenix-based PHI Air Medical LLC, an air ambulance provider, said fatigue is a difficult issue to deal with around the clock.

"We know with our clinics schedules … that they were facing fatigue," he said. “Pilots worked 12-hour shifts, and we knew they were working against their clock. That was what made us start reaching out and looking for solutions when it comes to fatigue.

The company created a fatigue working group to come up with ways to ensure workability and identify disabilities that can be caused by fatigue. PHI eventually decided on the psychomotor alertness test that Pulsar offered to identify signs of fatigue in pilots, mechanics and clinics, and launched the program in January 2019.

PHI now requires these workers to take a one-minute test, which measures alertness with a quantitative result at the beginning of each shift on their iPads or smartphones. Every worker who gets higher than 12 on the alertness test must repeat the test and then take an hour's nap if they fail again, Gallagher said.

"When an individual does poorly with (a psychomotor alertness test), their performance in their task is also compromised. … Omission errors go up, Mollicone said." When measuring alertness (the test) looks for changes in millisecond frequency in your wakefulness pattern. "

Although the program is still too new to have damage frequency data, PHI has seen a reduced need for intervention due to an unacceptably high Do. With additional pressure from COVID-19, the test has become even more important, said

"When you have back-to-back flights, go into (personal protective equipment), get to the hospital, transport the patient, have to take off personal protective equipment, decontaminate the aircraft – it takes a lot of time," he said. . "We got very tired from it. They understand why the need to do this. ”

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