Mining, Oil and Gas; Information on managing roster changes for COVID-19


Author: Dr Ian C Dunican PhD, MBA, MMineEng, GradCert(ASSc), BA 

In recent months much has changed due to COVID-19 in particular for business. Here in Australia, the Federal and State Government/s have identified several industry and service sectors as an essential part of the Australian economy, including the mining and resource sector. As such, the government has approved these industries to continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we must continue to adhere to legislative obligations while managing the threat posed by COVID-19.

This week, the Western Australian government, Department on Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) released information and guidance on managing fatigue at this time COVID-19 entitled “Managing modified rosters and fatigue.” Adjusting to the changing situation by modifying the roster arrangements may result in extended periods of work and less time for rest and recovery. When making changes to rosters, employers need to:

  • Consult with the workforce in relation to the changes: This can be done by reducing the size of focus groups, using technology to engage with workgroups or engagement of support staff to develop options for a quick discussion.
  • Conduct a fatigue risk assessment: It is recommended that businesses consider the use of scientifically validated tools such as biomathematical modelling that can be used in conjunction with the risk assessment process to support an evidence-based decision-making process. You can read more about this in a post on our free platform Sleep4Performance here.
  • Communicate proposed additional control measures intended to minimise the risks introduced through roster changes: Consideration should be given to novel methods of communication. Can the business develop a daily podcast (5-10 mins), such as Coronacast,  or a one-page infographic, such as the COVID-19 at a glance graphic, that communicates the relevant information? Such approaches are working well in public health.
  • Consider the impact of proposed roster changes on incident risk: Sleep4Performance can provide comparisons on current rosters versus potential rosters with a quantification of the risk increase/decrease. We are currently providing support to several major mining companies.
  • Consult relevant guidance and codes of practice: It may also be beneficial to consult with or attain a statement of advice from fatigue management/occupational health and performance/chronbiologist specialists as they will be up to date with the most recent developments relating to strategies, technologies and risk mitigation. (Click here for more information on how Sleep4Performance can help you at this time).

Sleep4Performance is currently working with several major mining companies in Australia providing support relating to fatigue/human factors and performance. If you would like to contact us to discuss these services or how we can support during Covid-19 please contact us for more information:

Dr Ian C Dunican PhD MBA MMineEng GradCert(ASSc) BA
Director and Chief Adviser, Sleep4Performance
+409 680 867

Read more at Western Australian government, Department on Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) COVID-19: Managing modified rosters and fatigue.


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