It’s time to rethink the fatigue risk for care providers when they drive
February 15, 2022 | News
Fatigue is a common risk. Research shows it’s a contributing factor in many crashes and is a risk even when workers are behind the wheel only a few minutes a shift—as is often the case for home and community care workers who drive to treat their clients. Fatigue can affect a worker’s ability by reducing alertness, reaction times, and decision-making.
That’s why you need driving fatigue safety policies or programs for your workplace. They can help save lives and reduce the risk of injuries. And keeping home and community care workers on the road, rather than off injured, helps address staff shortages. Road Safety at Work’s Driver Fatigue Tool Kit has all you need to get started.
What causes fatigue for home and community care drivers?
It’s not just about sleep. Though inadequate sleep can play a role, workers are also at risk when driving on the job because of scheduling and solitary work. Long shifts can cause fatigue. So can driving alone, at night, or during the low daylight hours of January and February, and in a warm vehicle.
What can employers do to reduce the risk?
Remember: driving-related fatigue is a risk for home and community care workers regardless of how much time they spend behind the wheel.
You need to first identify driving-related activities that can be made riskier by fatigue. Ask your workers for input. Then assess the risks. What is the potential harm that could be caused and how likely is it to happen?
The next step is to reduce or eliminate fatigue-related risks, starting with the highest priorities. Journey management and scheduling are 2 of the recommended options. Use Road Safety at Work’s Employer Tools and Resources to find out how they can help you
What can home and community care workers do to reduce their risk?
Fatigue can affect them regardless of their age, skill level, or experience. And research shows that old tricks like opening the window or cranking up the radio aren’t effective ways to keep drivers awake and alert.
Instead, encourage workers to try these tips:
- Get enough sleep
- Sit up while driving for the best visibility and shift your seating position frequently
- Keep the vehicle temperature between 18C and 20C
- Eat healthy food and drink water rather than salty and sugary snacks and pop
Review Road Safety at Work’s Driver Tools and Resources for more tips
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