Unanticipated safety outcomes: Shiftwork and drive-in, drive-out workforces in Queensland's Bowen Basin
Extended work shifts (more than 8 hours) and a marked increase in the use of a contractor workforce has resulted in significant productivity gains for employers. These developments we argue have resulted in an unanticipated outcome that has OHS implications: the emergence of a drive-in drive-out workforce (DIDOW) - in the case we studied, a workforce that is permanently based outside Queensland's Bowen Basin but travels to and from their place of work. The concern with a DIDOW is that the workers are at greater risk of driver sleepiness as a function of the work schedule compounded by a long-distance commute. These factors place the driver and the community at a greater accident risk. The results suggested some drivers commenced travel at 0200 and drove up to 1300 km to work. Driving in the early morning and traveling longer distances were associated with significantly higher levels of self-reported sleepiness. Some 13% of drivers reported falling asleep when driving to commence day shift compared to 23% following night shift. Driver sleepiness is a significant safety risk factor in a DIDOW. We anticipate that the planned expansion of the coal industry will result in more employees joining the DIDOW, putting more people at risk of accident.
Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources
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