28th May, 2020
There are many benefits to a trucking life, but there are also some downsides, with fatigue being one of them. Even if you get enough restful sleep every day, unhealthy habits such as poor diet and lack of exercise can contribute to unnecessary tiredness.
Maintain your health, or adopt some healthy habits, with the following tips. Followed daily, they aim to boost your energy levels, lower blood pressure, promote weight loss and improve your overall quality of life.
Here are seven healthy habits to be mindful of in the trucking industry:
1. Exercise every day
Regardless of the industry you work in, Australia’s health experts recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, which is based on your health and fitness level. Allocate time to exercise before or after driving and do some stretching exercises every time you need to refuel. If you want to stimulate your metabolism and feel energised throughout the drive, find a safe place to park your truck and walk for at least 10 minutes to get the blood pumping.
2. Skip the fast-food
Fast food often equals high amounts of salt and saturated fat and offers few nutritional benefits. If you’ve forgotten to pack your meals, try the supermarket for pre-cooked convenience foods like salads, sushi or deli sandwiches. Concentrate on high-fibre and protein-rich foods that will help keep you feeling full for longer. Look for any opportunity to increase vegies (especially greens) and fruit to your diet – think soups, stews, smoothies as examples.
- Eatforhealth.gov.au is an excellent resource to find out about the foods we need to eat for optimal health and wellbeing.
3. Relieve stress
Look out for signs you’re stressed. That way you can identify what triggers your stress and how to better manage it when it does happen. If you’re driving, listen to your favourite music – just doing this will increase dopamine – the “feel good” neurochemical in the brain. Other ways to de-stress include exercise, spending time outdoors or practising mindfulness.
4. Get plenty of water
Dehydration leads to fatigue. It impacts the flow of oxygen to the brain and causes your heart to work harder. Drinking lots of water will boost your energy, helping to keep you more alert. Not only is it the healthiest drink to have, it is the most important element for our bodies after oxygen. Try to drink filtered or boiled water where you can and have at least two litres a day.
5. Quit smoking
Smoking robs your body of oxygen, which is required for energy and healthy brain function. Call Quitline on 13QUIT if you need help.
6. Prioritise sleep
Ensure good, quality sleep by ensuring your sleeper berth is a slightly cooler temperature and has a comfortable mattress, pillow and other bedding. Put your phone on silent and consider getting a white noise machine to block out outside noise.
7. Measure your fatigue
Use SmartCap’s “Life” wearable technology inside to help alert you to when you become fatigued. The wearable technology monitors your brainwaves and sends alerts to the application on your phone. This way you can eliminate microsleeps – the number one cause of accidents in the trucking workplace. By knowing what your tired triggers are, you can then more proactively manage your fatigue and adopt healthy habits to suit your drive/lifestyle.
- Learn more about how SmartCap can help you manage your fleets fatigue.
2nd April, 2020
Workers’ fatigue is a significant problem in modern industry, largely because of high demand jobs, long duty periods, disruption of circadian rhythms, and accumulative sleep debt that are common in many industries. Fatigue is the result of integration of multiple factors such as time awake, time of day, and workload.
Every business and industry can be affected by fatigue. However, some types of work and some sectors have an inherently higher risk of fatigue, particularly when shift work is part of their business model which is commonplace in the mining and resources industry.
What is fatigue?
Fatigue is an extreme level of tiredness and drowsiness. In the workplace, fatigue is mental and/or physical exhaustion that reduces your ability to perform your work safely and effectively.
Signs of fatigue
There are many signs of fatigue including
- tiredness even after sleep
- reduced hand-eye coordination or slow reflexes
- short term memory problems and an inability to concentrate
- blurred vision or impaired visual perception
- a need for extended sleep during days off work.
Causes of fatigue
Causes of fatigue can be work related, personal or a combination of both. They can also be short term or accumulate over time.
Work causes of fatigue might include:
- prolonged or intense mental or physical activity
- sleep loss and/or disruption of your internal body clock
- organisational change
- exceptionally hot or cold working environments
- work scheduling
- excessively long shifts
- not enough time to recover between shifts
- strenuous jobs
- long commuting times.
Some workers are at a high risk of fatigue because their work typically involves some or all of these factors, for example:
- shift workers
- night workers
- fly-in, fly-out workers
- drive in, drive out workers
- seasonal workers
- on-call and call-back workers
- emergency service workers
- medical professionals and other health workers.
Impacts of fatigue in the workplace
Fatigue in the workplace doesn’t only impact on workers’ mental and physical health, it can also impact on the health and safety of those around them.
Fatigue results in a lack of alertness, slower reactions to signals or situations, and affect a worker’s ability to make good decisions. This can increase the risk of incidents and injury in a workplace, particularly when:
- operating fixed or mobile high-risk plant
- driving a vehicle
- working at heights
- working with flammable or explosive substances
- hazardous work
Managing fatigue in the workplace
Most people are aware of the dangers of driver fatigue but our ability to recognise the signs diminishes as we become more fatigued. Fortunately, SmartCap have created wearable technology that monitors fatigue in real time, helping to eliminate the risk of microsleeps. Our product, ‘Life’ is the world’s most effective fatigue monitoring solution that provides real-time feedback, helping operators manage their alertness.
The team at SmartCap are committed to safety and ensuring that everyone gets home safely every day. We believe that every person is responsible for managing their own fatigue, and our technology is designed to ensure that individuals are empowered to make this possible. Through alerts, reports and profiles each user will know when they are at risk and the times of the day that their risk is greatest. SmartCap helps our customers to develop and implement techniques to effectively manage fatigue to ensure their workforce is safe. This is able to occur due to:
- Centralised Monitoring
- Real time fatigue monitoring technology using EEG
- Real Time Fatigue Alerts provided to the operator
- Effective Results
- Road Tested & Proven
Life by SmartCap empowers every worker with early-warning alerts. Without the need for in-cab cameras, Life ensures ongoing compliance with even the strictest of workplace privacy requirements.
Learn more about how SmartCap can help manage fatigue at your workplace today.
21st July, 2017
WRITTEN BY: DR. DANIEL BONGERS, SMARTCAP INVENTOR, AND CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
I’ve worn SmartCap products for thousands of hours over the years; in mining trucks, road trains, planes, cars, for many long days in the office, and even in my kayak. But as time has passed and as I’ve moved further away from product development, I seem to now mostly use our product when I drive.
Last month that all changed, when our new VP of Product Development, Brett Carswell, asked us to test the new Life by SmartCap app release. Since then, I’ve worn it every day and I’ve quickly learned that my changing role (and maybe a little aging) has brought about some different patterns in my alertness throughout the day.
I’ve always considered myself a night owl. Whether I was writing algorithms or business plans, afternoons and late nights was when I did my best work. Not so anymore. The numbers don’t lie, and the verdict is in – I’ve become Mr. Average. Of course, I’d like to think I’m special in some ways, but when it comes to my peak times of performance, I’m like most; 9 am to midday is my time to shine!
The likely explanation is that I’ve adopted a healthier rhythm of getting to bed at a sensible hour, coupled with the fact that I’m well into my thirties (yes, that’s how I choose to say it). My afternoons show a window from 3 pm to 4 pm when I’m still quite sharp, but by 6 pm it’s time to call it a day.
So now what? Do I run to the marketing department and tell them that I have some cool insights that show how awesome our product is? Well yes, but it’s also time to make some changes.
Despite what I hope my boss thinks, some of my tasks are more on the mundane end of the spectrum – so it’s time to move them to early afternoon or late afternoon; the more demanding tasks I’ll hit mid-late morning.
“…I only found out that my own assumptions about my alertness didn’t align with reality because I measured it.”
It’s not a ray of light from the clouds by any measure. However, I only found out that my own assumptions about my alertness didn’t align with reality because I measured it. So while I get a little more productive, maybe you can buy a LifeBand or two and do the same!