01:09 pm, Monday 23 January, 2012
A new study conducted by Gary Mellor, a senior lecturer in the school of health and human sciences at Southern Cross University revealed that many new fathers are suffering fatigue, and that it can have serious consequences on workplace safety, especially for those who are involved in physically demanding work or operating machineries.
Dr Mellor said that employers should be aware and be sympathetic to what their male workers are going through during early fatherhood and should help them during this time. He also said that fathers must consider negotiating different ways they can take a leave.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, 241 fathers were studied at two points during their babies’ first three months. The study reveals that the more fatigue they experience, the less they followed safety practices. Fathers experiencing fatigue were 36 percent more likely to have “near misses” at work.
Majority of the respondents had interrupted sleep when their babies were six weeks old. They would wake up two or three times a night, on average, and would only sleep for 5 ½ hours. They had more sleep at 12 weeks but felt worse. By that time, three-quarters suffered from fatigue at least “some of the time” compared with 65 percent at the six-week period. The study reveals that this rate is higher than for the general population, where fatigue is a problem for 20 to 30 percent of people.
“Fathers might benefit from using leave by working fewer days a week, having later start or earlier finish times, or long weekends,” said Dr Mellor.
More findings on this study are published in the American Journal of Men’s Health.