As an industry that predominantly operates in harsh, remote areas and is serviced by fly-in/fly-out workers, there is little doubt that the Australian Pipeline Industry is one that is highly susceptible to fatigue and the risk that it brings.
In 2011, the Australian Gas and Pipeline Association (APGA) started out on a journey with TMS Consulting to address fatigue and lead the industry to best practice in fatigue risk management.
This journey began with a comprehensive Fatigue Management Study (FMS) on the industry. The aim of the study was to quantify fatigue and its risk factors and to profile related general health and safety factors. This was accomplished over a year by embedding a researcher onsite on a large-scale fly-in/fly-out pipeline construction project in Queensland.
The project required collecting detailed data from over 400 people using surveys, reaction time devices, sleep measuring devices, urine hydration analyses, and body measurements. Biomathematical fatigue modelling software was also used to assess work rosters, and data from OHS incident and near-miss reports and in-vehicle monitoring systems to reveal fatigue-related trends. This data, combined with industry feedback, then served as a basis for providing recommendations and areas of focus to aid effective fatigue management.
Following the release of the study in 2013, APGA then called upon TMS to develop industry guidelines to highlight the risks of fatigue and assist member companies to implement their own Fatigue Risk Management Systems. The guidelines were released in October 2014.
This paper will provide a case study of TMS’s work with APGA, detailing the findings of the study and the makeup of guidelines. This paper will also touch on what the resource industry can learn from the Australian Pipeline Industry and its commitment to protecting their workers against the deadly risk of fatigue.