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FAQs: Fatigue Management

What is a Sleep Apnea Assessment and Fatigue Management Program, and how do I know if my company needs one?

In any safety sensitive work environment, especially where shift work is involved, companies should make sure their employees are fit, ready and alert. If their performance is dropping and/or accident rates are going up, sleep apnea assessments and fatigue management programs may be appropriate. We believe we provide the fastest access to professional services in Canada, thereby minimizing waiting times.

What is meant by fatigue?

Fatigue can lead to a progressive decline in alertness/vigilance and may lead to uncontrollable sleep or “automatic behaviour.” It is associated with a decrease in cognitive performance (delayed reaction times, attention, irritability and poor hand-eye coordination).

What causes fatigue?

Fatigue can be caused by insufficient sleep – obstructive sleep apnea and circadian misalignment are two key causes. Obstructive sleep apnea, as noted below, is a condition whereby an individual’s airway collapses multiple times per hour resulting in broken sleep, which is the cause of fatigue and many other health concerns. Circadian misalignment happens when our body’s internal clock (which promotes sleepiness and alertness at different times of the day) is disrupted, which frequently occurs for shift workers.

Why should I be worried about fatigue in the workplace?

In order to be safe, commercial drivers and all workers in safety sensitive positions need to be alert and vigilant. Fatigue can lead to human error, it increases the risk of accidents, and it can have many other health impacts. The health, safety and security of your work force can be improved by managing fatigue.

What is a fatigue management program?

A fatigue management program is a program designed to take a comprehensive, customized approach to the issue of fatigue within an industry or a workplace and to address the problems of fatigue in an operational environment. This program can benefit shift workers, people with work schedules that restrict sleep, and workers in safety sensitive positions.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders and is characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep. The individual’s airway collapses for between 10-60 seconds multiple times each hour, resulting in broken sleep and reduced oxygen intake. This causes sleepiness and can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and abnormal heart rhythms.

What is a sleep apnea program?

DriverCheck’s sleep apnea program involves six main steps: assisting with the creation and implementation of a company policy, education of management and employees, screening for sleep apnea, diagnosing the disorder through a portable test or in-lab testing, treating the disorder through a CPAP or other device (or through other applicable means), as well as compliance monitoring and coaching.

Is diagnosis or treatment for sleep apnea paid for by the government?

Government funding for sleep studies and treatment devices varies from province to province. In Ontario, in-lab sleep studies are covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan and a portion of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices are paid for by the Assisted Devices Program. Outside of Ontario, sleep testing that occurs outside of hospitals and CPAP devices are not covered by medicare.