Fatigue, substance use and sick leave of employees in a mining environment
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A major concern for and challenge to the mining industry are the increasing perceptions of employee fatigue at all levels of the organisational structure. It is compulsory, by legislation that mines in South Africa report yearly on employee fatigue. The emergence of fatigue in South African mines has become inevitable with the current legislation for the mining industry. Furthermore, employees with high levels of alcohol consumption is problematic, and these employees might use short-term absenteeism as a coping mechanism to escape their issues with alcohol. Chapter 2 (Article 1) investigate the current state of the conceptualisation fatigue by looking at international and national research conducted on employee fatigue in addition to investigating the use of the concept in South African mines/organisations. The article has five major contributions. Firstly, it conceptualises fatigue from a historical and current point of view by investigating the current state of research of employee fatigue in the mining industry by analysing national and international research conducted in this field. Secondly, it focuses on approaches to fatigue. The third and fourth contributions are the investigation of fatigue models and the measurement of the concept fatigue, respectively. Furthermore, focus is given to the history and legislation relevant to the mining industry regarding fatigue. The final contribution relates to the outline and discussion of the characteristics of work fatigue in the mining industry. Chapter 3 (Article 2) main objective is to determine the relationship between employee fatigue, level of substance use, absenteeism and the demographical information of employees. In order to prevent employee fatigue, it is important that the relationship between employee fatigue and accompanying demographical information of these employees, is understood. The study also focuses on which group of employees, white- or blue-collar employees, have a higher level of substance use, and which group of employees have a higher level of human fatigue in the mining industry. There is no debating the fact that the South African economy is dependent on the mining industry. This study identified a gap in the current literature with regards to both fatigue studies in South Africa and fatigue in the South African mining industry. International studies have done vast amounts of research on the phenomenon of employee fatigue and an extensive amount of literature focuses on the mining industry. Thus, further research is required to fill the void in the current literature relating to the topic of employee fatigue, substance use and sick leave of employees in a mining environment. This research will allow the much-needed information to reach both the organisation and the employees that need assistance.