CIRAS’ confidential reporting service for health and safety issues can pick up issues that remain unaddressed, despite being reported internally, or have not been reported out of fear. We take a look here at a couple of themes that have been reported, and the actions that have been taken in response.
Around a third of the reports for the supply chain are about fatigue. A couple of recent CIRAS reports have cited long commuting time of up to fours hours, followed by shifts of up to 12 hours. Some of our reporters have witnessed drivers nearly falling asleep at the wheel. Clearly, the issue of fatigue management needs addressing in such cases.
Some companies will brief staff in response to a CIRAS report on fatigue, arranging more overnight stays, and reviewing their policies and procedures. The same applies where staff on site are struggling to have a rest break. There is a tendency sometimes to simply review the policies and procedures, without the will to change the culture and effect change on the ground. Naturally, we always check with the original reporter to see if the issue has been resolved. If it hasn’t, we ask the company responding to take another look.
Another important issue that has been highlighted recently is the apparent lack of a formal procedure for drugs and alcohol testing. One reporter described a culture where staff were able to consistently dodge the tests because they were forewarned – this is a fairly frequent complaint.
Whatever the truth of the matter, staff who are able to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol are a danger to themselves and others. In the past, CIRAS reports have led to drugs and alcohol testing with positive results, proving that the original source of the intelligence was correct. Using CIRAS may be a last resort for some, but it can save lives.