1 min read

What are our obligations regarding fatigue management of travelling workers?

Q: Our workers often spend long hours on the job due to travel requirements. For instance, a worker may start work at 6am, then catch a plane to arrive at their destination by 7.30pm, and then have a one-hour journey home in a company-supplied vehicle. This means that the worker is driving home in their 15th hour of work.

For situations like this, what are our obligations regarding fatigue management? What would be our liability should that worker have an accident on the drive home due to fatigue?

A: Your business needs to assess the risk for a worker driving in a vehicle after such a long day, and decide whether it would be reasonably practicable to implement controls to eliminate or minimise the risk of injury. Other controls might include:

  • providing overnight accommodation for the worker before they return to their destination;
  • providing alternative transport such as a mini-bus to drive a number of workers home; or
  • requiring that the worker rest for a period of time before driving home.

If a worker has an accident caused by fatigue, then your business’s liability will depend on whether you can demonstrate that you have taken all reasonably practicable steps to minimise the risk of injury.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Vehicle safety for current advice.

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