'Could address gaps in legislation to protect health and livelihood of workers’
While eight different sectors in Canada have extensive guidance on how to address workplace fatigue, there is no standard definition or management practice in place to address this issue, according to a new study.
CSA Group’s research finds that while the aviation, rail, marine, nuclear, oil and gas, health-care and defense sectors recognize fatigue as an issue for workers, there is no comprehensive definition of workplace fatigue, what causes it or how it may affect performance.
“There is certainly an opportunity for standards that address workplace fatigue to make a real and positive difference to workers in this country,” says Mary Cianchetti, president of standards at CSA Group. “What we’ve found is there is a need to support the management of workplace fatigue in Canada for the health and safety of Canadian workers.”
Most Canadian organizations follow federal hours of service (hours of service), employment standards code or provincial worker compensation regulations when it comes to addressing workplace fatigue. However, “a review of the literature indicated that prescriptive HoS were deemed insufficient and that the addition of more comprehensive fatigue management strategies is required,” says the study Workplace Fatigue: Current Landscape and Future Considerations.
“Across industry sectors, there were many commonalities in the key content of fatigue management guidance documents, suggesting that there are programmatic elements and tactical approaches that can span all industries. There was a large gap to be filled in providing identification, assessment and mitigation tools where no guidance documents exist or where smaller employers have limited resources.
The CSA Group said that “the creation of a standard for workplace fatigue could address gaps in the existing legislation to protect the health and livelihood of all Canadian workers, regardless of where they work.”
"What we’ve found is there is a need to support the management of workplace fatigue in Canada for the health and safety of Canadian workers.”
Fatigue was one of the issues raised by Teamsters Canada recently when it served notice of intent to strike to Canadian National Railway (CN).
In describing the current working conditions of rail workers, the union said in a release that CN “wants to make it more difficult to take time off and make employees work longer hours in an attempt to get more work done with fewer people and to reduce staffing levels.”
“Fatigue has been recognized by the Transportation Safety Board as a major safety problem in this industry. Too many railroaders are operating trains when they should be resting,” says Lyndon Isaak, president of Teamsters. “For the safety of all Canadians, we cannot allow CN to make it even harder for our members to get the rest they need.”