Fatigue, Impairment and Shift-work: More info

There are a number of publications you can refer to for more information on fatigue, impairment and shiftwork:

From the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU):

  • Fact sheet: Hours and Fatigue [pdf]
  • Policy Alcohol and Other Drugs in the Workplace (2006) [pdf] The policy provides a framework for employers and workers to follow when dealing with issues relating to the consumption of
    AODs and to meet their obligations under relevant OHS legislation.


From WorkSafe Victoria:

  • Fatigue Prevention in the Workplace - Published in June 2008, this guidance provides information on how to identify potential work-related fatigue hazards, determine work-related fatigue risks and how to control work-related fatigue hazards and risks. 

  • Fatigue Risk Control Guide   This publication forms part of WorkSafe's Fatigue Control Guide and provides guidance on identifying fatigue risks, specifically in forestry.

  • Fatigue management for the forest industry 

  • Fatigue in Mines - A handbook for earth resources - newly published in 2009, the publication is designed to assist mine operators and workers in earth resources comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 and Occupational Health (OHS Act) and Safety Regulations 2007 (OHS Regulations)

An AMWU bulletin It’s No Accident [pdf] on fatigue, working shifts and long hours.  It provides information and advice on shift lengths, hours of work and more. 

Several of the other Australian OHS Authorities have very useful and practical publications:

  • From WorkSafe WA: 
    • A Code of Practice on Working Hours [pdf] (2006) which promotes a holistic approach to identifying the hazards and assessing the risks of extended working hours.  The code also incorporates Working hours risk management guidelines [pdf]
    • a downloadable 'risk management poster' [pdf] which is useful 

  • From NSW WorkCover, a guide: Fatigue – prevention in the workplace 

  • From the ASCC, two research reports
    • Work-related Fatigue - Summary of recent regulatory developments
    • Work-related Fatigue - Summary of recent indicative research 2006 
      Both can be downloaded from this page of the SafeWork website

  • From Workplace Health and Safety Queensland: Fatigue Management Guide [pdf] This guide provides information on causes of fatigue, and advice on shiftwork, extended working hours and roster designs.  Their Fatigue website also has useful information

  • From the UK's Health and Safety Executive Fatigue and Risk Index Tool, to compare alternative patterns and help identify whether any particular aspect of an existing or proposed working time pattern is likely to increase the risk of fatigue.

  • Shiftwork The UK Train drivers' union ASLEF has made its authoritative Shift-work, lifestyle and healthguide available to us for our readers. The 32 page guide is thoroughly referenced and is intended 'to assist both the union’s elected representatives and its members in coping with shift-work and the long hours culture in Britain’s railways. The guide is a useful resource for anyone concerned about shift-work and long hours, whatever their industry.  The document can be downloaded at the top right hand side of this page.

  • Centre for Sleep Research (CFSR) 
    The CFSR is an Australian leader in sleep and shiftwork research, and is based at the University of South Australia. Dr Drew Dawson, well known for his research into sleep and fatigue, is the director of the Centre.

Driving and fatigue

  • The NSW Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Long Distance Truck Driver Fatigue) Regulation2005, took effect on 1 March 2006.  The Regulation requires employers of drivers and head carriers, undertaking this type of work, to ensure that the risk of harm arising from truck driver fatigue is either eliminated or appropriately managed. They also need to develop and implement Driver Fatigue Management Plans (DFMPs) in consultation with their affected employees/drivers. More information  including a range of materials. 

  • And from WorkCover WA:  Code of Practice for Fatigue Management for Commercial Vehicle Drivers[pdf]  and Developing a Fatigue Managment Plan for Commercial Vehicle Drivers and Operators [pdf]


  • From the New Zealand government's OHS Service: Shift-work, Reducing its Effect on Health and Safety  - Advice for Employers and Employees 

  • Health effects of shift work and extended hours of work [abstract] - JM Harrington, Occup Environ Med2001; 58 :68-72 (January) 

  • From the Victorian Government Better Health website: Shiftwork - health effects 

  • The Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc (Canada) has a useful booklet - Shiftwork: Health Effects and Solutions [pdf

  • From the Workers Health Centre (NSW), a factsheet: Shiftwork and extended hours  

  • From the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: What is the definition of "rotational shiftwork"?

  • The Occupational Cancer Research Centre and the Institute for Work & Health (Canada) co-hosted a scientific symposium on the health effects of shift work on April 12, 2010 in Toronto. The aim was to provide an overview from leading scientific experts on current knowledge on the field, and identify key research gaps.  A summary report, presentation slides, Issue Briefing (prepared as background for the symposium) and other information are available to download. Presentations include: 'Shift work and sleep disturbance'; 'Shift work and breast cancer: the need for mechanisms'; 'Shift work and adverse health effects: possible biological mechanisms'; 'Night work, night light and cancer: animal evidence' and much more