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FIGHTING MINER FATIGUE ON UNUSUAL WORK SCHEDULES: A Worker Perspective Jon Wagner, Mine Safety Instructor Hibbing Community College.

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Presentation on theme: "FIGHTING MINER FATIGUE ON UNUSUAL WORK SCHEDULES: A Worker Perspective Jon Wagner, Mine Safety Instructor Hibbing Community College."— Presentation transcript:

1 FIGHTING MINER FATIGUE ON UNUSUAL WORK SCHEDULES: A Worker Perspective Jon Wagner, Mine Safety Instructor Hibbing Community College

2 Have you ever felt fatigued? Where you just know that you are not able to do your best because of: l Tiredness? l Boredom? l Mental distractions? l Drowsiness? l Lack of concentration? l Feeling stressed? Do you think these conditions can lead to accidents, injuries, and fatalities?

3 The overwhelming majority of mine workers surveyed said “YES” to both questions. The next questions: What causes fatigue? and What can be done to prevent it? ? ? ? ?

4 lack of sleep long work hours shift rotation noise vibration boring work too much stress alcohol drugs worries illness advancing age FATIGUE LACK OF ALERTNESS INATTENTIVENESS

5 WORK SCHEDULE Rotations Hours Off Days HOME LIFE Eating Sleeping Family Recreation JOB LIFE Mood Health Safety Productivity

6 “Fatigue is the loss of physical, mental, or emotional energy due to time on task.” l general health & fitness l sleep quantity, quality l social interaction l diet and nutrition l alcohol and drug usage Fatigue can also be affected by factors off the job, such as:

7 PERSONAL PROBLEMS WITH UNUSUAL WORK HOURS l Sleep Disorders l Gastrointestinal Disorders l Coronary-Artery Disease l Mood Disorders l Eating Difficulties

8 HOW CAN WE ADJUST TO THE STRESS OF WORKING LONG HOURS? l Change the nature of the job--provide variety, change of pace, work breaks. l Change the job environment--reduce stressful exposures. l Modify the work schedule--find “win-win” situations where all can benefit. Work with management to:

9 HOW CAN WE ADJUST TO THE STRESS OF WORKING LONG HOURS? 1) Work with management on Job Life issues. 2) Learn how to cope with these Home Life issues, including: a) SLEEP STRATEGIES b) DIET and NUTRITION c) FAMILY and SOCIAL INTERACTION d) HEALTH and FITNESS e) SMOKING CESSATION f) STRESS MANAGEMENT g) DRUG and ALCOHOL COUNSELING 3) Use methods to fight fatigue during the work shift.

10 HOW TO COPE WITH LONG HOURS a) SLEEP STRATEGIES l Plan your sleep time--be consistent--and don’t alter it! This gets more important for those in their 40’s or older. l Limit the size of the meal just before sleep--stay away from heavy, greasy foods and caffeine. Limit alcohol--it induces sleep, but the sleep becomes disturbed and less refreshing. l Develop a good sleeping environment, including: - heavy shades on the windows to darken the room. - a cool room using a fan or air conditioner. - keeping windows closed to shut out noise. - a quiet room with carpets, acoustical tiles, and tape deck or “white noise” machine to mask noises. - a comfortable bed. - an “on-off” switch for the phone and doorbell.

11 HOW TO COPE WITH LONG HOURS l Avoid getting locked into commitments during sleep time. l Leave time for a brief nap before starting the night shift. l Learn relaxation techniques and routines. l Use earplugs or earphones if noise is bothersome. l Train children to respect your sleep hours and play away from your bedroom door. l Make sure your family, friends, and neighbors are aware of and respect your sleep schedule. l If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and read, listen to music, watch TV for a while until drowsy. a) SLEEP STRATEGIES (cont’d)

12 HOW TO COPE WITH LONG WORK HOURS l Problems for shift workers--disruption of meal timing; changes in number of meals eaten per day; reliance on caffeine; increased use of alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes; inappropriate appetite. l More problems--reliance on fast foods; eating habits disrupting sleep and upsetting stomachs; poor availability of hot, nutritious meals at night. Some solutions... l Eat more fiber, green vegetables, legumes, fruit. l Eat less fat, sodium. l Eat hot meals on night shift. l Complement diet with exercise. l For sleep, eat low-fat, high-carbohydrate meals, including pasta, ice cream, potatoes, etc. b) DIET AND NUTRITION STRATEGIES

13 HOW TO COPE WITH LONG WORK HOURS l Timing is important--digestive juices have circadian (daily) rhythms. Try to eat at the same times each day. l If you eat late, eat light. Try low-fat foods, poultry, fish, pasta, vegetables, and fruit. l If you work nights, eat light foods throughout the shift. Try yogurt, soups, toast, and fruit. Candy, pop, and chips will give quick energy, but then leave you more tired than before. l Avoid heavy, greasy and spicy foods at night -- ″hold the onions.” l The effects of alcohol follow a circadian rhythm--be careful when drinking during unusual hours. l Alcohol is a sleep robber -- don’t use it as a sleep aid. l Stop caffeine consumption at least four hours before bedtime. b) DIET AND NUTRITION STRATEGIES (cont’d)

14 HOW TO COPE WITH LONG WORK HOURS l Problem: Family stress--greatest among those with pre- school children who long for a “normal” life. l Problem: Lack of effective communication. –What happens when you try to communicate when you’re tired and crabby? –“Ships passing in the night.” l Problem: Limited involvement in traditional family celebrations and events. l Friends on the same schedule and friends outside of work. l Train friends to learn your schedule and plan events accordingly. c) FAMILY AND SOCIAL INTERACTION

15 HOW TO COPE WITH LONG WORK HOURS l Plan time to communicate; plan family time in advance; post your work schedule; leave written or taped messages for your family. l Try to eat some meals together. l Know when to confront and when not to confront-- but don’t postpone indefinitely. l Negotiate with family in advance. l Teach your family how critical your home life is toward a safe work life. l “We’re in this together.” c) FAMILY AND SOCIAL INTERACTION (cont’d)

16 HOW TO COPE WITH LONG WORK HOURS l Role of exercise-- –fights obesity, heart disease, diabetes, circulatory disease--all contribute to fatigue. –helps handle job stress. –should be aerobic--snowmobiling and fishing don’t count! l Physical fitness can help prevent work injuries. l Daily exercise enhances sleep quantity and quality. l Recommended: Aerobic exercise 20-30 minutes per day, 3-4 days a week. d) HEALTH AND FITNESS

17 HOW TO COPE WITH LONG WORK HOURS e) SMOKING CESSATION f) STRESS MANAGEMENT g) DRUG and ALCOHOL COUNSELING Miners who successfully participate in the above programs can expect a healthier lifestyle, a more satisfying family life, and better safety performance at work. Ask your employer or health insurer if these programs are available to you--these can be important!

18 FIGHTING FATIGUE WHILE DRIVING How do you stay awake when driving? What do you do? Some answers offered from 4,000 miners in Wisconsin-- 1) Roll down the window. 2) Turn up the heat or cold. 2) Stick your head out the window. 3) Turn up the radio. 4) Sing and yell. 5) Drink some DEW/COKE/JOLT. 6) Sip some coffee. 7) Speed up! 8) Exercise in your seat. 9) Have another beer--(This is WI) 10) Chew gum. 11) Slap yourself in the face. What should you do instead? TAKE A BREAK -- Use it to eat, nap, or exercise!

19 FIGHTING FATIGUE AT WORK What should you do? 1)Acknowledge that you’re having trouble--alert someone you trust. 2)Do something different, if possible-- a)different job task e)do maintenance task b)coffee break f)get exercise -- check equipment fluids, c)different machinedo mid-shift inspections, wash d) fill out paperwork windows, etc. 3)Communicate with someone, especially if you have radio contact. 4)Take lunch, if possible. 5)Nap? Catnaps are rarely accepted by management, but used by many night workers in all industries....may be grounds for dismissal. 6)If nothing works--contact your supervisor. Your safety and the safety of your coworkers are most important.

20 Even with long hours, it’s possible and necessary to work safely and productively; then, go home and live a rich and healthy life. This takes planning and increased attention to getting adequate sleep and nutrition. DO IT--for you and your family.

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