Quarry Southern Africa November 2018 - Page 37

ENVIRONMENT IN FOCUS Training employees on personal lifestyle issues can also reduce fatigue, which can be increased by: • Having less than seven to eight hours’ sleep • Chronic illnesses such as diabetes and TB • Wrong diets, such as foods high in Tryptophan • Stress or depression • Sleep apnoea (a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. It can manifest in loud snoring or feeling tired even after a full night’s sleep). Potter uses the industry formula: Ft = Fss + Few + Fpf • Ft = Total Fatigue • Fss = Shift system W ith so much focus on technology, it is easy to forget the needs of workers. Effective fatigue management among employees could make a big difference between efficiency and stagnation, says Predictive Safety South Africa’s director of Fatigue Education, Dr Doug Potter. He has observed trends in fatigue management for the past nine years. For quarries struggling to improve efficiency, but without the budget to implement a full risk-management fatigue strategy, Potter says they should consider the following steps: fatigue risk assessments, fatigue education and shift roster analysis. “It is not commonly realised the extent to which noise and vibration causes fatigue. It’s the same effect that puts a crying baby to sleep when you drive a car. Vibration and harmonics studies on fatigue will let you know when your company vehicle may tire you.” He advises employers that 21°C is the ideal working temperature (not always easy for employees working outside in South Africa). But when driving a vehicle, setting the temperature in your office will keep you more alert. Ergonomics is the process of designing or arranging workplaces, products and systems so that they fit the people who use them, says Potter and poor ergonomics cause poor performance. He gives an example, “Your body is like a hose. Every bend in that hose creates a kink. When you go from working in an upright position to being hunched over at, say, a 45° angle, it uses twice as much energy.” Dr Doug Potter, Predictive Safety South Africa’s director of Fatigue Education, has observed trends in fatigue management for the past nine years. Fatigue on quarries “In quarrying, as we see increased need for more aggregate in construction and road building. This raises the pressure on quarries to produce more product, work more hours and this in turn creates more fatigue,” he says. This could leave a quarry manager wondering why, having invested millions of rands in new operational equipment to increase productivity, there might be little or no significant change in profitability. Little may he know that effective risk-based fatigue monitoring of employees could be that missing element. There are a number of other important factors to be looked at when developing a risk-based fatigue monitoring policy. “Companies must develop shift schedules which directly address the issue of fatigue, by making sure shift workers are adequately rested in between shifts.” Quarries can go from quiet to busy almost overnight when a new local project commences, and in this instance, he recommends management develop an overtime schedule with a fatigue specialist to minimise accidents. Potter also advocates healthy eating, exercise and rest for workers in the opencast mining industry. Education is the central facet of fatigue management, giving employees the knowledge to make the necessary changes to improve their sleep, change their diet and increase their energy levels. This extends from educating employees on the effects of Tryptophan, which causes sleep, to simple tips such as not having coffee before going to sleep, packing a lunch for the day which will not spoil and learning to suppress one’s sugar craving. “Sugar consumption can be the cause of headaches. High level of fatigue could be also a result of poor diet. Hence, the need for a dietary plan for employees to ensure that they get the right nutrients is highly recommended,” he says. “Anyone who is aware they suffer from depression or anxiety should seek professional help, rather than just battle on. The bottom line is the human body can recharge itself with enough breaks, rest and nutrition but the timing of each of these must be carefully designed,” says Potter.  “Companies must develop shift schedules which directly address the issue of fatigue, by making sure shift workers are adequately rested in between shifts.” • Few = Ergonomics and work • Fpf = Personal factors www.quarryonline.co.za  QUARRY SA | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018_37