Sleeping easy to be safe

30 January, 2014

The new Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity aims to reduce fatigue-related injuries by 9000 each year, saving the health system almost $2 billion in costs.

Launching the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), which brings together technology companies, academics, regulators and employers, parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Industry, Bob Baldwin, said its work would make Australian workplaces, homes and streets safer.

"Each year almost 10,000 serious workplace injuries and more than 25,000 serious injuries from road crashes are caused by poor alertness. Beyond the terrible human and emotional cost this results in around $5 billion in lost productivity each year," Baldwin said.

"The CRC for Alertness, Safety and Productivity will look at everything from workforce scheduling and workplace design to state-of-the-art tools to revolutionise the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders to reduce the number of preventable errors, accidents and injuries.

"It sounds simple – getting a good night's sleep – but the fact is that over 20 per cent of the population are affected by a sleeping disorder. This impacts on not only their quality of life but, collectively, our workforce's productivity and the safety of our homes, workplaces and roads.

"CRCs achieve results by bringing together experts from across fields of expertise to work together to address big issues facing our society."

The CRC for Alertness, Safety and Productivity was established with a $14.48 million contribution over seven years from the Australian government.

The CRC will develop and deploy new products and services that will improve alertness and performance, resulting in fewer injuries, enhanced workplace efficiency and improved quality of life in our 24-hour society.