Spring and Summer are by far the busiest times in Australian agriculture. Big harvests, like grain, mango and other major crops, mean big hours and the opportunity to earn some big dollars. However, fatigue can bring these work plans to an abrupt end if not managed properly.
While emergency services and medical workers are extremely high risk, seasonal and shift workers in the agriculture space are also some of those at highest risk of fatigue. Working at heights, in confined spaces, operating machinery and driving are jobs heavily affected by fatigue and very common roles in agriculture.
Fatigue presents itself in many ways, with the most common signs being:
- Tiredness – even after sleep
- Reduced hand-eye coordination or slow reflexes
- Poor concentration
- Not able to follow instructions
- Blurred vision or impaired visual perception
- A need for extended sleep during days off work
Keeping our workers safe is the number one priority at Agri Labour Australia, with fatigue being one of our key areas of focus. We provide specific training and instruction about fatigue when you start with us and have strict policies to ensure our candidates have the opportunity to rest and overcome the effects of tiredness after work.
The consequences of fatigue can be fatal, therefore it is critical for everyone to take a responsible approach to managing their fatigue and keeping a close eye on team mates who may be showing signs.
Here are some important ways you can help everyone stay safe at work:
- Understand your sleep, rest and recovery needs and get adequate rest and sleep away from work
- Seek medical advice and help if you have or are concerned about a health condition that affects your sleep and/or causes fatigue
- Assess your own fitness for work before starting
- Monitor your level of alertness and concentration while you’re at work
- Look out for signs of fatigue in the people you work with
- Make sure you to take your scheduled breaks or shift naps (night shift), drink water, do some stretching or physical exercise, adjust your work environment (for example lighting and/or temperature)
- Talk to your supervisor if you think you’re at risk of fatigue
- Assess your fatigue levels after work and make sensible commuting and accommodation decisions
The ALA team is always here to help, so make sure you speak with your supervisor if you have any concerns.