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Prevention Award: Pacific National

Pacific National received a high commendation for the 2018 Comcare Work Health and Safety Prevention Award.

Video transcript

About Pacific National

Pacific National is one of Australia’s largest rail providers, who handle and haul millions of tonnes of agricultural and resource commodities, retail goods, manufacturing products, construction and other materials. They employ around 4000 people in over 100 sites across Australia.

The problem and/or challenge

Train crew at Pacific National spend significant hours travelling in light vehicles and in doing so they are at risk of falling asleep at the wheel or becoming involved in road incidents through distraction and drowsiness. Pacific National had no ability to accurately detect fatigue for their drivers and given the broad geographic area that the company operates in, there are a lot of man hours being spent behind the wheel. The company initiated a project to investigate technologies currently available to help them prevent dangerous incidents.

The approach and outcome

Pacific National installed their Driver Drowsiness Detection Technology (DDT) which consists of both in-vehicle hardware, support software and a risk management system with support tools for managing the hazards of drowsy driving and distraction events. The in-vehicle hardware is a passive, infrared monitoring device which is fully automated and requires no interaction by the vehicle driver. The sensors monitor eye closure and movement and are effective even through all types of eye wear. The hardware monitors the vehicle driver for the physiological signs of drowsiness and on detection of an event, provides an audible alarm and rigorous vibration to the driver’s seat to alert the driver before an incident occurs on the road. The technology is monitored in real-time, providing the opportunity for immediate risk controls to be implemented.

Key achievements

  • Pacific National now have 212 DDT units within their light vehicle fleet and have overhauled their entire fatigue management system.
  • The technology has also supported a positive cultural change towards fatigue management with an increase in employee fatigue self-reporting and therefore opportunities to manage fatigue proactively.
  • On an individual level, the technology has assisted in the identification of underlying medical issues (such as sleep apnoea) in employees who have been involved in multiple identified drowsiness events.
  • They have not experienced a fatigue related light vehicle event resulting in injuries to their people since implementing the units across their fleet.

Further information

For further information on Pacific National’s entry and project, please email Gwenda Murphy, Project Manager, or Clifford Sheppard, Project Safety Advisor, Pacific National.

Pacific National

Page last updated: 18 Oct 2018