SOLUTIONS

Assessing for the prevalence of sleep disorders

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is one of the most common sleep disorders in the general population, with prevalence ranging from 9% to 38%1. Research undertaken by Melius Consulting involving a survey of 580 shiftworkers working in a remote mining operation in Western Australia, identified a high potential prevalence of OSA (28%). If untreated, sleep apnea within a shiftwork environment is a potential risk as it may contribute to inadequate sleep, resulting in reduced cognitive performance and alertness, and potentially increase the risk of a fatigue-related accident 2. Melius Consulting provides an Onsite Sleep Apnea Screening service to assist organisations in identifying, and treating individuals with potential sleep disorders to return them fit for work.

Figure 1: ResMed ApneaLink Air device

Conducting sleep apnea screening onsite removes the need for an individual to take time off work to travel for screening and provides a more realistic representation of sleep on site. Also, it expedites treatment turnaround times and minimises the impact on production. Screening involves the individual first completing an online screening questionnaire and if identified as potentially at risk for sleep apnea undertaking a sleep study using the ApneaLink Air device.

Melius Consulting and AngloGold Ashanti Australia (AGAA) were recognised as a finalist in the Work Health and Safety Excellence Awards for the collaboration for Improving health, safety and productivity outcomes through identifying and supporting individuals with sleep disorders. This program resulted in a 51% reduction in fatigue alarms with haul truck drivers since the inception of the service. An initiative of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), these annual awards recognise outstanding solutions and innovations to workplace health and safety in Western Australia.

REFERENCES:
  1. Senaratna CV, Perret JL, Lodge CJ, et al. Prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea in the general population: A systematic review. Sleep Med Rev 2017;34:70-81. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2016.07.002
  2. Akerstedt T, Wright KP, Jr. Sleep loss and fatigue in shift work and shift work disorder. Sleep Med Clin 2009;4(2):257-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jsmc.2009.03.001