Rostering for better health and productivity

July 21, 2020

Shift work and irregular rostered hours can worsen workers’ health, safety and productivity.

Australia’s growing connection to the global economy ensures it is open for business 24/7. While people in health, transport and emergency services have historically worked around the clock, globalisation expands work hours beyond nine-to-five for people across increasingly varied industries.

Shift work and irregular rostered hours can worsen workers’ health, safety and productivity. As Australians work longer, more unconventional hours, there’s

greater demand on employers to reduce workplace risks by putting fatigue management plans in place.

The Alertness CRC has brought Australian optimisation software company Opturion and Monash University together to create the world’s first software program that automatically applies fatigue rules to create better staff rosters.

“AlertSafe® Rostering is a cloud-based integrated rostering system that helps employers design an optimal roster that takes into account employees’ constraints and preferences, and seeks to limit and mitigate worker fatigue,” says Alan Dormer, CEO of Opturion.

He says avoiding fatigue caused by a poorly designed roster will help reduce industrial accidents. “Research shows that avoiding fatigue, mistakes and non-conformances can be reduced by up to 30 per cent. Initial results from the Monash Medical Centre trial are similar. Other benefits are increased productivity and a reduction in sickness absence.”

The engine room behind the software is a complex algorithm offering sophisticated fatigue management in roster building, roster management, human capital management, and time and attendance systems. AlertSafe® can highlight fatigue risk on an individual, team and enterprise level.

“We can design a fatigue-mitigating roster that is better for employees and can reduce costs to employers,” says Monash University and Alertness CRC theme leader Professor Mark Wallace.

— Brendan Fitzpatrick

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