Impairment from fatigue can increase the risk of injuries. “If people are tired, things get broken and people can get hurt,” said Landcorp Farm Business Manager Mark Johnson.

“Accidents to people, equipment and property were costing us and ACC. We came up with a simple change that didn’t cost us any extra and people became more efficient in their work.”

There was some initial resistance from workers when the dairy farms introduced roster changes to address the problem. However, they quickly embraced the move from an 11 days on, three off roster to a four-two system.

“We talked openly with our workers about how we wanted people to have a good work-life balance. Initially younger staff weren’t keen as they wanted every second weekend off. They saw that as more important than working fewer hours. We agreed to a three-month trial and at the end we asked for their feedback. No one wanted to change back. They feel better, enjoy life more and have more time with their families. Taking their views into account helped us make the right decision.”