The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a civil penalty of $153,000 against an airline for operating 17 flights without giving pilots or flight attendants the required minimum amount of rest.Read More
WHAT’S AT STAKE
If there are certain times of day when you are fighting the urge to sleep, you aren’t imagining things. Any night shift worker will tell you that the urge to sleep is strong between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. What you might not know is that another lull occurs in the early-to-mid afternoon.Read More
Hydrogen sulfide hazards - Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, sometimes odorless gas. Prolonged exposure can reduce your ability to smell and cause other health problems. It’s a naturally occurring substance that is often found in crude petroleum, natural gas, sour gases, in salt mines, in volcanic gases, hot sulfur springs, lakes, marine sediments and swamps. Read more about the properties and dangers of hydrogen sulfide at Cheminfo.Read More
Mine Hazards – This article by A. M. Donoghue outlines the physical, chemical, biological, ergonomic and psychosocial occupational health hazards of mining and associated metallurgical processes. Read full study.
Distracted Driving- Each day, more than 15 people are killed and more than 1,200 people are injured in crashes that were reported to involve a distracted driver. Read more of this report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.Read More
A study led by the Dr. Charles Czeisler of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School has found that many police officers are suffering from the effects of sleep disorders and are consequently putting public safety and their own safety at risk.Read More
He should have been watching the road, but instead an Ohio transport truck driver was watching pornography on his laptop computer. The semi-trailer Thomas Wallace was driving slammed into a disabled car on the New York State Thruway, killing 33-year-old Julie Stratton, a mother of two children.
Wallace, 45, of Brook Park, OH, pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter and was sentenced to a minimum three year prison term.
Court heard that not only was Wallace distracted by watching a video while driving—he was also suffering from sleep deprivation.
Stratton’s car became disabled on the highway’s passing lane after striking a deer. Her vehicle was then struck from behind by the rig driven by Wallace. The fatality occurred in the Pembroke, NY, area 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Buffalo.
Share this story with your workers as a reminder of the need for both getting sufficient sleep before driving and of paying attention to the road instead of engaging in distractions.
Info to go: Read more about distracted driving by clicking on the Info to Go safety links at www.SafeSupervisor.comRead More
Odds of winning the lottery: 1 in 135,145,920 (multi-state, mega-millions jackpot)
Odds of dying prematurely (before age 65) as a result of getting six or fewer hours of sleep nightly; a common reality among shiftworkers: 12 in 100. (Source: A study of 1.3 million people and 100,000 deaths conducted by University of Warwick, England and Federico II University Medical School, Naples, Italy).
1: The number 1 significant factor in shiftwork that is thought to compromise health is a disruption of the body’s circadian rhythms, or biological cycles including sleep-wake patterns. (Institute for Work & Health)
2: The 2 times per day when circadian rhythms dip, causing workers to feel sleepy, are during the mid-afternoon and during the early morning hours.
3: American women who are shiftworkers reported higher use of 3 things, namely alcohol, sleeping pills and tranquilizers, compared to women working day shifts only.
8: Eight potential problems associated with shiftwork are sleep disorders, greater potential for workplace injury, cancer, pregnancy complications, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, psychological stress and gastrointestinal disorders.
24: In the United States, 24 million people are shiftworkers. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
25: In Canada, just over 25 percent of full-time workers ages 19 through 64 work shifts (Institute for Work and Health)Read More
Put that coffee pot on! A review of 13 international randomized studies suggests that caffeine is effective in reducing worker errors and improving cognitive performance among people working night shifts.
Sleepiness leads to a deterioration in performance and attention and is associated with an increased risk of injury,” says lead researcher Katharine Ker, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Ker says shiftwork creates a need for workers to operate at times different to those dictated by their circadian rhythms (body clocks). There’s a need for interventions to ensure that workers can operate safely during such times.
“Caffeine has a potential role in promoting alertness during times of desired wakefulness in persons with jet lag or shift work disorder,” she says.
The review of the studies suggested that ingesting caffeine found in tea or coffee, energy drinks, certain soft drinks, some foods and in pill form improves memory, orientation and attention. The studies focused on workers in their 20s and 30s. Ker says more research is needed to see how beneficial caffeine is in boosting alertness among older workers.
“It seems reasonable to assume that reduced errors are associated with fewer injuries, although we cannot quantify such a reduction (without further research),” says Ker.
An estimated 15 percent of workers in industrialized countries work rotating shifts or night shifts.Read More
Shift starting times can have a significant effect on how sleepdeprived or alert your shiftworkers are and, therefore, how safely they work, according to Circadian 24/7 Workforce Solutions.
Sleep deprivation is strongly linked to errors and greater risk for injury and death. Circadian says it’s important to balance the best time for starting the morning shift with the best time for ending the night shift, so workers can get enough sleep before the morning shift and after the night shift. The body’s biological clock controls alertness and sleepiness during the day.
Alertness is low and sleep is more easily achieved between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. and also in the early afternoon. A person’s alertness is greatest during the morning and early evening hours. Circadian says morning shifts starting earlier than 6 a.m. have a great potential to cause sleep deprivation because workers often don’t get enough sleep beforehand. In order to do so, they would have to go to bed when their body clocks were at peak alertness.
Night-shift workers are also at risk for sleep deprivation because they tend to sleep neither as long nor as well during the day. Not only are they fighting their circadian clocks by sleeping during the day, but frequently they must also deal with noise and daylight. The later daytime sleep starts after a night shift ends, the more difficult it is for a worker to obtain adequate sleep.
Night shifts that finish late in the morning will not allow a person to obtain enough sleep and will lead to chronic sleep deprivation if not addressed. Circadian recommends starting day shifts later than 6 a.m. to allow workers to arrive sufficiently rested. Similarly, the earlier in the morning a night shift ends, the less likely your workers are to be working while sleep deprived.Read More
Nearly one in four full-time workers in North America are shiftworkers. Studies have shown that shiftworkers are at increased risk for fatigue—and for making safety related errors on the job—as a result of needing to be awake when their body clocks are telling them they should be sleeping.
The following eight tips from Circadian 24/7 Workforce Solutions can help safety directors and supervisors improve nightshift workers’ performance, reduce safety-related problems, boost morale and generally make your operation run more smoothly:
1. Permit on-the-job exercise: Several lab studies show that exercise during the overnight hours boosts alertness. Exercise promotes improved cardiovascular health and leads to better daytime sleep. Dispatch or call center operators may be able to use a stationary bike, a treadmill, and free weights while they work. You could also make such equipment available in or near a lounge area.
2. Provide healthy snacks: An irony of most workplaces is that the foods usually most readily available at work in vending machines and cafeterias — doughnuts, candy, cheese sandwiches, burgers etc. — are not particularly healthy choices. You can help out workers by providing fruits, vegetables, and other options in your cafeteria or vending machines.
3. Subsidize extended-hour childcare: Finding quality childcare that operates during irregular working hours is nearly impossible. Some companies provide centers where employees can drop off and pick up their kids without any hassle, in some cases subsidizing the costs.
4. Allow music in the workplace: Few tactics are more effective for improving morale than allowing workers to listen to music — particularly in monotonous jobs. In addition, some research has shown that music enhances alertness and improves productivity.
5. Put e-mail to maximum use: With proper precautions about overuse and etiquette, e-mail is an ideal tool for smooth communication in many operations. If employees already use computers, you can provide them with a daily update when they sign on upon arrival at work. And employees with home computers can log into the e-mail system when they want an update before coming to work.
6. Allow napping on breaks: Several studies show that short naps of 15 to 20 minutes provide an alertness boost that lasts several hours. A growing number of 24×7 companies encourage employees to take naps during breaks.
7. Start their engines: The only thing more annoying than finding your car battery dead at 5:30 p.m. is finding it dead at midnight or 7 a.m. To take one hassle out of workers’ lives, some employers offer a free car-starting service. Employees can call a nearby contracted company to jumpstart cars, and help usually arrives in minutes.
8. Be flexible about shift changes: Allowing workers to arrange their own shift change times can be a real morale booster. When safety and work rules permit, this sort of flexibility is greatly appreciated.
Circadian says there are many steps that supervisors and employees can take to reduce fatigue and improve performance, health, and safety, often at little or no cost.Read More