Eyes Wide Shut: We Don’t Have a Fatigue Problem


Watch the UK presentation Eyes Wide Shut: We Don’t Have a Fatigue Problem

Fatigue is a chameleon. It disguises itself as a rules violation, a lapse of attention, non-compliance, or that catch-all phrase, “human error”. We are dealing with the consequences of fatigue-related incidents on a regular basis without even knowing it. It’s time to open our eyes and see how fatigue lurks not only in our workers, but hidden in the design and management of our work systems! Watch this enlightening webinar led by Mike Harnett, President of Solaris Fatigue Management, a renowned expert in the science of fatigue and safety management systems. Hosted by Construction Health and Wellbeing LTD’s founder, Jennie Armstrong. In this webinar, Mike will delve into the fundamental changes needed in planning work activities, designing schedules, and evaluating errors through the lens of fatigue. With her background in human factors and sleep neurobiology, Mike’s insights are invaluable for optimising worker health, safety, and performance. 

🎙️About Our Speaker: Mike Harnett Mike has worked with prestigious organizations such as the Canadian Standards Association, US Federal Rail Association, Transport Canada, and NASA. Her passion lies in guiding private industry to develop fatigue risk management plans and programs, making complex subjects accessible to all.

Watch the presentation: https://youtu.be/A0fBce90Iok?feature=shared  

 

Asleep At The Wheel

Brutally long days and erratic sleep lead to accidents, chronic disease and depression.

Sedentary Woes

Headaches, eye strain, repetitive strain disorder paired with disease from a sedentary lifestyle plague post- production.

Do you know where your fatigue-related risks are? Do you have the right strategies in place? If you’re worried about the impact of fatigue at the job site, or simply don’t know where to start, we’re here to help!

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The Canadian Ergonomist Q and A

The Canadian Ergonomist Q and A

In this informative interview by “The Canadian Ergonomist”, Mike Harnett, President of Solaris Fatigue Management, answers questions about her career as a Human Factors expert.  

 

Mike Harnett Q and A

Published by Canadian Ergonomist on 

Mike Harnett is President of Solaris Fatigue Management, a consulting firm that optimizes worker health, safety and performance.  With a background in human factors and sleep neurobiology, she is regarded as a subject matter expert on the science of fatigue, and has been a researcher and consultant to various government agencies including the Canadian Standards Association, Transport Canada, US Federal Rail Association and NASA.

She is currently helping to establish a new CSA standard addressing Fatigue Management for First Responders and is serving on the Expert Advisory Panel to a European Coalition assisting in the research and development of new AI technology for monitoring driver performance and cognitive load.

Mike is active in guiding private industry in the development of fatigue risk management plans, including transportation, mining, maritime, energy, construction, motion picture, and manufacturing sectors.

Mike is recognized for her ability to take complex subjects and deliver their content in a simplified and innovative manner for all to understand. An award-winning speaker, she is an internationally sought-after presenter, educator and advisor.

Read the full article on The Canadian Ergonomist

 

 

 

 

Asleep At The Wheel

Brutally long days and erratic sleep lead to accidents, chronic disease and depression.

Sedentary Woes

Headaches, eye strain, repetitive strain disorder paired with disease from a sedentary lifestyle plague post- production.

Do you know where your fatigue-related risks are? Do you have the right strategies in place? If you’re worried about the impact of fatigue at the job site, or simply don’t know where to start, we’re here to help!

Fill Out this form to Contact Us

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SafeSets

SafeSets

Mike Harnett, Leading Fatigue Expert, is interviewed along with other experts in this series “SafeSets”.  Sleep deprivation is a common risk for anyone working in the film and television industry. In the first of these videos Harnett explains the dangers of fatigue and how it occurs . In the second video, Harnett discusses ergonomics and repetitive stress.

Host Paul Heinzelmann, MD, MPH, joins with cast, crew, and experts to discuss health and safety, and present fresh strategies for well-being in an industry full of hazardous conditions. Under pressure to meet tight schedules and long days, safety protocols get compromised to the determent of everyone in all areas of the production.

Heinzelmann hopes that newcomers, rebuking this unhealthy culture, will be the changemakers for these critical practises.

 

 

Asleep At The Wheel

Brutally long days and erratic sleep lead to accidents, chronic disease and depression.

Sedentary Woes

Headaches, eye strain, repetitive strain disorder paired with disease from a sedentary lifestyle plague post- production.

Do you know where your fatigue-related risks are? Do you have the right strategies in place? If you’re worried about the impact of fatigue at the job site, or simply don’t know where to start, we’re here to help!

Fill Out this form to Contact Us

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AMTA Platooning Profiles

Mike Harnett, president of Solaris Fatigue Management, with one of the two Cooperative Truck Platooning System trucks at the AMTA Rocky View location.

Mike Harnett, president of Solaris Fatigue Management, with one of the two Cooperative Truck Platooning System trucks at the AMTA Rocky View location.

Platooning Profiles: Mike Harnett, President, Solaris Fatigue Management

AMTA is releasing a series of profiles of the people involved with the Cooperative Truck Platooning System (CTPS) project. The project is currently processing data from the nation’s first pair of artificially intelligent semi-trucks of their kind, including human factors.

A key element of the CTPS project is the study of human factors – including fatigue – and for Mike Harnett, president of Solaris Fatigue Management, her company is the link between science and applying fatigue management in the real world of their customers.

“I always say, this career chose me, I didn’t choose it,” she said.

In her first job after graduating, Harnett focused on injury prevention with a Canadian railway company after a tragic freight train incident in which 23 people were killed.

“After an intense investigation, over 300 contributing factors were identified, but the key contributors to this tragic event was a combination of poor work culture and fatigued workers,” she explained. “From there, I was sent to Washington DC and Michigan to learn about these emerging topics called Human Factors and Ergonomics, and leaders in Australia were beginning to share their initial studies in Fatigue Management. They were really in their infancy. I’ve been augmenting my education and learnings ever since.”

Harnett said AMTA reached out to Solaris in 2020 regarding submission of a bid for the CTPS project to Transport Canada.

“I welcomed the opportunity to work with the AMTA and the other partners they had lined up, knowing that we were dealing with an issue that would have a strong impact on future regulations and the promotion of a fatigue risk management system beyond hours of service rules.”

Harnett explained most of today’s technology comes from experts in engineering and IT, but very few have employed human factors professionals into the mix.

“Thankfully, Transport Canada recognized this when they were reviewing the potential impact of a CTPS coming in to play. We already know that commercial drivers are subject to high levels of fatigue and decreased alertness while driving due to specific work factors including schedule designs, workload, sedentariness on longer routes, and personal factors such as poor sleep hygiene, sleep disorders, etc.

She added research clearly indicates when a driver is affected by fatigue, it negatively affects their reaction times (e.g., slower to brake), their situational awareness of traffic around them as well as their own driving behaviour (e.g., lane deviations), their visual acuity, and they are more likely to have difficulty with problem solving, reasoning and logic when something interrupts the normal driving experience.

While “fatigue is not something we are going to eradicate”, Harnett said organizations who accept that can turn their attention to mitigating risk through avoiding fatigue-promoting activities in the work system; looking at the task of driving through a fatigue lens; to see how much higher the risk is when driving while tired and supporting drivers with education and awareness on how best to manage fatigue.

“Fatigue management only works if you adapt it to fit into the context of your operations and what may work for one industry, or one company within that industry, does not always work for another,” she said. “That’s what makes Solaris different.”

 This article was originally posted February 10, 2022 on

Alberta Motor Transport Association

Platooning Profiles,

Platooning Profiles: Mike Harnett, President, Solaris Fatigue Management – AMTA – Alberta Motor Transport Association

Workplace Fatigue

Workplace Fatigue

Workplace Fatigue:

Current Landscape and Future Considerations

 Very proud to have this report released! Thank you to all who contributed to our efforts, and a huge thank you to the CSA Group for tackling this issue. We are one step closer to providing all Canadian workplaces, both large and small, with a national standard on how to address fatigue. – Mike

With unprecedented levels of workplace fatigue attributed to modern day work, a national standard could help address the issue and improve workplaces in Canada (Toronto, November 20, 2019) –

Professional burnout is affecting a wide range of jobs, workplaces and industries, and there is no standard definition or management practice in place to address this issue. That’s the key finding from CSA Group’s latest research report Workplace Fatigue: Current Landscape and Future Considerations which was released today and finds that a common definition of workplace fatigue is currently lacking in Canada.
In 2019, for the first time, the World Health Organization recognized burnout as a medical diagnosis. However, without a standard definition of what workplace fatigue means in Canada, it’s difficult to say how pervasive the problem is.
CSA Group’s research finds that while a number of industries in Canada, including aviation, rail, marine, nuclear, oil and gas, healthcare and defense do recognize fatigue as an issue for workers, there is no comprehensive definition of workplace fatigue, what causes it or how it may affect performance.

“Our research has identified that there is certainly an opportunity for standards that address workplace fatigue to make a real and positive difference to workers in this country,” said Mary Cianchetti, President of Standards, CSA Group. “What we’ve found is there is a need to support the management of workplace fatigue in Canada for the health and safety of Canadian workers. CSA Group could help to address this gap with a national standard.”

In some workplaces, the potential consequences of fatigue can be a matter of life and death. Workers in paramedic services face unique health and safety issues on a daily basis such as shift work and extended work days, as well as periods of intense psychological stress or trauma. That’s why the Paramedic Association of Canada is currently working with CSA Group to develop a national standard on fatigue risk management for first responders, in parallel with this new research.

“Paramedics do a job that can be grueling both physically and emotionally, and workplace fatigue is an issue we cannot ignore. We know that the impact of fatigue on first responders can affect neurocognitive performance, which in turn can endanger not only their own personal health and safety, but also the health and safety of their fellow responders and the public they serve,” said Pierre Poirier, Executive Director, Paramedic Association of Canada. “This research identifies that a gap does exist in Canada when it comes to how fatigue is being addressed in the workplace. We are pleased to already be working with CSA Group to develop a standard for fatigue risk management for first responders aimed at reducing exposure to fatigue-related hazards and protecting both paramedics and the people they help every day.”
In 2018, CSA Group introduced a psychological health and safety standard to address the specific needs of paramedic service organizations. The creation of a standard for workplace fatigue could address gaps in the existing legislation to protect the health and livelihood of all Canadian workers, regardless of where they work.

For more information on the Workplace Fatigue: Current Landscape and Future Considerations research report, click here.

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: Sleep FAQs Part 2

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: Sleep FAQs Part 2

In my previous blog, we reviewed frequently asked questions I get at conferences, such as why we get up to pee in the middle of the night, what my dreams really mean, and how to reclaim sleep after bringing a baby into the mix. In Part 2, we delve into the impact of technology, sleep disorders, prescription meds and of course, non-prescription sleep aids. 

1. I’ve heard looking at my smart phone can be bad for my sleep. How come? 

All of our smart technology is driven by blue-enriched LED light. Within the full spectrum of light, there is a particular blue stream that has a direct effect on our ability to sleep by suppressing the production of Melatonin and affecting our circadian drive. Melatonin is our natural sleep hormone. It’s what helps us fall asleep and stay asleep. 

During daytime hours, blue light exposure (including sunlight) is excellent. It can enhance our moods, improve focus and concentration, and actually help us sleep better at night. However, it’s all about timing and any night time exposure (after the sun has gone down) is strongly discouraged. Since the impact of light is affected by distance, small handheld devices like smart phones, e-readers, IPads, tablets and laptops are more damaging due to their proximity to your eyes than a big screen TV across the room. 

While many devices have dimming features to ease eye strain, that is not the same as a blue light filter and will do nothing to prevent the suppression of melatonin. Most of our newer devices have built in blue-light filters to reduce this damaging effect. Check if your device has one. Go into settings, display, and then look for either “night shift” or “blue light filter” to activate it. 

If you’re a day worker, use the automated “sunrise to sunset” feature. If you’re a shift worker, you may want to select specific times for it to activate. Your screen will turn a pink or orange-ish hue and greatly improve the chances of you getting a restful sleep. If your device doesn’t have a blue light filter, there are plenty of free blue light filter apps available online. 

2. I’ve heard you can buy Melatonin. Do you recommend it? 

Here’s what we know. It has been heavily marketed in recent years as a safe way to help get sleep, but synthetic melatonin is not the same as what your body produces, and does not take you through the sleep cycle like natural melatonin. Many side effects have been noted, including excessive grogginess the next day after you use it, upset stomach, and very vivid, horrific nightmares. It is also not recommended for people who have a history of depression, as it can enhance these feelings, or a history of seizures. 

Recent scientific literature is advising that you restrict the use of Melatonin on a temporary basis, such as when you’re travelling across time zones, to help offset jetlag, but not to use it on a regular basis as a sleep aid. Not everybody produces, or requires, the same amount of melatonin, and the timing of taking it is just as important as the amount. For example, some need it earlier in the day than others. As for parents giving it to children, there simply isn’t enough long term research on the effects of children, but given what we know about the effects on adults, why take the risk of giving them nightmares or affecting the quality of their sleep. 

If you suspect your lacking melatonin, a safer and gentler alternative is the natural supplement called L-Tryphtophan. It is the precursor needed for the body to produce serotonin in the gut, which ultimately is synthesized into our own natural version of melatonin. 

3. How do I know if I have a sleep disorder? 

Very simply, if you wake up unrefreshed and struggle to stay alert throughout the day, you could have a sleep disorder. If it takes you longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep, and you wake up several times during the night and can’t fall back asleep, you could have a sleep disorder. Most importantly, if someone tells you that you snore loudly, or has heard you gasp or choke during the night, you could have a sleep disorder. In this case, you may be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). 

OSA is becoming more and more prevalent and is probably the most dangerous. It’s the result of something blocking our airway while we sleep. We literally stop breathing. When it repeatedly lasts for more than 10 seconds, you officially have OSA. This means we starve both the heart and the brain of oxygen, and this leads to all kinds of other significant health issues including cardiovascular disease and stroke. It also means we don’t get through all of the sleep stages that we need to because every time we gasp for air, it wakes us up and kicks us out of the sleep cycle, thus preventing us from getting the recuperative sleep we need. You’ll be constantly exhausted, unable to focus, and emotionally drained. 

While obesity is a prime contributor to the onset of OSA (a size 17 neck for men and 16 for women is a primary risk factor), that doesn’t mean other people can’t have airway obstructions. Adults and kids alike can have enlarged tonsils or adenoids that block the airway. A narrow palette with a wide tongue could collapse back into the throat during sleep. Sleeping on your back is also a known cause. Heavy smokers, drinkers and those using sedatives are at high risk, as they all cause the muscles of the throat and tongue to relax and collapse on themselves. 

It has been reported that 1 in 4 Canadian adults have symptoms of OSA. If you think this may be you, book an appointment at a sleep clinic to get checked out. Depending on the severity, you may be outfitted with either a dental appliance (minor OSA) or a CPAP machine (severe OSA). A CPAP machine is one that provides continuous positive air pressure to ensure the airway stays open while you sleep and is the most effective method for combatting OSA. Check if your benefit plan covers the cost of these devices. 

4. What sleep medication would you recommend? 

In short? None. And not only because I’m not a Doctor. Both prescription and non-prescriptions medications (including melatonin) disrupt your natural sleep cycle so they don’t replicate normal sleep patterns. Alcohol needs to be included here, as many people turn to is as a sleep aid. 

Prescriptive medications (benzodiazepenes) are highly addictive and their use should be limited to being a last resort and only under the strict guidance of your doctor. However, even over-the-counter meds can create high tolerances and come with other side-effects. More importantly, taking medication only treats the symptoms, not the problem. Stress is a common cause of sleep disturbance, in addition to those previously mentioned. You need to address the heart of the matter for the best results! 

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