||Issue No. 209||20 February 2004|
Regions To Be Cheerful
Interview: Trading in Principle
Unions: While We Were Away
Politics: Follow the Leader
Bad Boss: Safety Recidivist Fingered
Economics: Casualisation Shrouded In Myths
History: Worker Control Harco Style
Review: Other Side Of The Harbour
A Casual Affair
Latham Is A Bad Man
Tired Drivers Fight Hypocrisy
The news comes as international researchers called into question ways of measuring fatigue, which many unions argue is as important an issue as drugs and alcohol.
Unions, who argue that impairment is the real issue, were briefed on the latest research into sleep loss and its impact on workplace safety by a team of experts. Their findings are set to be published in the March edition of leading journal, Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine.
After the presentation the NSW Labor Council expressed concern over the models being used to assess fatigue in the workplace, including the Fatigue Audit InterDyne (FAID) test, used by Australian employers.
"The fatigue tests were designed for the effects of total sleep deprivation, where the issue for workplace safety is partial sleep deprivation," says NSW Labor Council Occupational Health and Safety Officer Mary Yaager. "We are concerned that these are being used in certain industries and they may actually increase risk factors."
"Similar to the situation with rail, State Transit buses runs on overtime," says Peter Jenkins of the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU). "We're negotiating an enterprise bargaining agreement to create more flexibility over leave."
Jenkins pointed out that some bus drivers were working up to 12 days straight; many travelled up to four hours a day from the western suburbs, Wollongong and the Central Coast on top of shifts that can last up to nine hours. Drivers are also expected to work overtime on Sundays.
"The RTBU as a whole has argued that if you're impaired at a 0.02 blood alcohol reading then someone who has worked 12 days would have to be as impaired," says Jenkins.
The RTBU believes that flexibility with leave arrangements and rostered days off would make working for State Transit a more family friendly proposition.
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