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Fatigue management enhanced after concerns highlighted

A reporter raised a safety concern about staff exceeding the 14 hour door-to-door policy. According to the reporter, employees were being instructed to travel from Doncaster to sites, which can be up to a three or four-hour drive away. This meant that staff were commuting for a total of six to eight hours and working an 8 to 12-hour shift. There was said to be no driver policy in place or allocated drivers for these journeys, and hotels were not always provided, leading to an increased fatigue level. The reporter felt that driving on a long journey after a shift was unsafe, commenting that a fatal road accident could occur.

The reporter asked if First Structure could:

  • Conduct a risk assessment accounting for commuting time?
  • Provide hotels for employees travelling long distances?
  • Provide an allocated driver for the journeys there and back?

First Structure’s response
In response to this report, First Structure took a snapshot of working hours and the related travel time over a specific time period. A number of contractors were working in and around London during this period and we decided to concentrate on those based in Doncaster.

Contractors who worked longer shifts during this period were supplied with pre-booked quality local accommodation with a meal allowance included. A number of contractors were invited to First Structure headquarters to discuss concerns they may have had about driver fatigue.

Those who attended these meetings had a positive attitude - they all agreed that they understood both their responsibility as nominated drivers and First Structure’s responsibility as their primary sponsor with regards to managing driver fatigue.

Improvements made:
First Structure Ltd have signed up with Roomex, a one-stop shop who now deal with all our hotel booking needs. All rooms are booked instantly online and there is no waiting around for client purchase orders or credit card authorisation. Safety tours will now include twice yearly fatigue briefings to all staff members. We are focusing on recruitment within the West Midlands and Greater London area to minimise travel time and ultimately eliminate fatigue.

Key points:
CIRAS frequently receives reports from site workers on the subject of fatigue. You can make a difference by reporting anything you feel affects your health or safety. If reporting doesn’t work internally, consider using CIRAS.