Fatigue, Sleep and Unsafe Hours



Unsafe working hours can lead to work related fatigue, which may be caused by prolonged periods of physical and/or mental exertion at work without sufficient time to rest and recover. This affects the doctor’s ability to safely perform their duties and can also lead to serious health complications and ultimately affecting a doctor’s wellbeing.

Two new safe working hours standards were introduced earlier this year to address unsafe working hours concerns raised by the JMOs as one of the biggest issues affecting their wellbeing.

  1. Maximum rostered hours: Employees must not be rostered for shift periods totalling more than 14 consecutive hours (inclusive of meal breaks and handover).
  2. Break after rostered shift periods: Rosters must be arranged so that there is a break after rostered shift periods of at least 10 hours.

This article (The Guardian, 8th October 2018) is yet another critical reminder of the effects of cumulative lack of sleep on an individual, at various levels.

ASMOF maintains it is an employer’s responsibility to ensure the safety of their worksites and their employees. This includes ensuring JMOs are not subjected to unsafe working hours and consistently receive adequate time to rest and recover between their shifts, consistent with relevant NSW Health Policies.