четверг, 22 января 2015 г.

Австралия (охрана труда) Автомобильная авария работника после работы - работник перерабатывал, установленное законодательством количество рабочих часов - семья работника получила компенсацию от нанимателя на основании решения арбитража


Health & Safety Bulletin
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Case Study: $500,000 awarded for fatality 

caused by work-related fatigue

Thursday, 22nd January, 2015, by Joanna Weekes
In today's Health & Safety Bulletin:
  • Case Law: $500,000 awarded for fatality caused by work-related fatigue
  • What can you learn from this case?
  • 7 tips to protect shift workers from fatigue
Dear Reader,
A recent case has highlighted the fact that you need to be cautious when setting workers excessive work hours that are likely to cause fatigue.

Case Law: $500,000 awarded for fatality caused by work-related fatigue
In Stephen and Leanne Ethel Eastman v Namoi Cotton Co-Operative Limited (2014), a worker was killed while driving home from work. Although the incident happened outside of work hours and was not work-related, the worker’s employer was ordered to pay nearly $500,000 in workers’ compensation to the victim’s family because the accident was likely to have been caused by work-related fatigue.

The worker had been required to work 12-hour night shifts 6 days in a row with 2 days off. She was killed when the car she was driving drifted into oncoming traffic and was hit by a B-double truck.

Because the incident happened after she had worked 60 hours in a 5-day period, the arbitrator ruled that it was likely that she fell asleep due to fatigue caused by excessive hours of work, and awarded her father $498,950 in compensation.

In deciding the case, the arbitrator also noted that “employment does not have to be the only, or even the main 
cause” of the incident. That is, it need only be a contributing factor.

What can you learn from this case?

This case is interesting because it highlights the fact that workers’ compensation can be awarded even when an injury or incident occurs outside of work and is not work-related. If it can be proven that the worker is likely to have suffered from work-related fatigue and that fatigue was a likely cause of the incident, your business could be liable.

To avoid liability due to worker fatigue, it is important to identify the signs of fatigue and take all reasonable steps to reduce fatigue in your workers.
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7 tips to protect shift workers from fatigue
Shift workers are particularly at risk of fatigue due to the long or unusual hours they are often required to work. You should therefore take the following steps to reduce the risks of fatigue among shift workers:
  • design an appropriate shift schedule that includes no more than six consecutive 8-hour shifts or four consecutive 12-hour shifts;
  • set shorter shifts for work that is particularly tiring or hazardous;
  • minimise night shifts;
  • give workers sufficient rest time between shifts;
  • ensure that no one is performing an excessive amount of overtime work;
  • consider developing a fatigue management plan to monitor and manage fatigue levels of workers; and
  • supervise shift workers, particularly if they are young or inexperienced.
Remember, prevention is the best cure, so before setting unreasonable or unrealistic work hours, think about how this could negatively affect the worker. If it is likely to cause fatigue, consider how you can reduce this risk, e.g. by distributing work among a number of workers and hiring new workers where necessary.

For more information about managing the fatigue of shift workers, you can refer to S6 Shift Work in your Health & Safety Handbook. If you’re not a subscriber, find out the benefits of becoming one today!
Take care,

Alanna Furlan
Editor
Health & Safety Bulletin


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