By Joanna Weekes
If you manage your workers’ work schedules using shift work, you need to make sure that you take into account all the health and safety hazards that may be associated with their shift work schedules.
By developing a shift handover process for your workers, you can reduce the likelihood of fatigued workers rushing the handover process at the end of a shift, therefore reducing the likelihood of mistakes being made and incidents occurring.
How to reduce the risks associated with shift handovers
Your shift handover process must ensure effective communication between workers ending a shift and workers beginning a shift.
Use the following checklist to develop handover procedures:
✔ Do you have a handover policy in place?
✔ Are your workers trained in the handover procedure?
✔ Do you allow adequate handover time?
✔ Do your workers use logbooks or other means of documentation to assist with handover?
✔ Are shift handovers regularly monitored?
✔ Are your shift handover procedures regularly reviewed?
It’s important that your company conducts a risk assessment to better understand the hazards associated with the shift work schedule you have planned for your workers.
After you have conducted a risk assessment, implement control measures to reduce the risk to your workers, for example:
- design a considered schedule that provides workers with enough rest time between shifts;
- manage overtime carefully;
- schedule sufficient rest breaks;
- train your workers; and
- monitor and supervise during and between shifts.
You can find more information on risk assessments if you subscribe to the OH&S Handbook, just refer to chapter H2 Hazard identification and Risk Assessment.