The global mining industry keeps expanding, and projects are often started in areas previously considered too remote. Due to worker beliefs about safety, and the diversity of cultures in remote projects, the measurement and management of human fatigue is complex. This paper reports on five studies from companies in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo, where workers had been killed in likely fatigue-related accidents. Mixed-method approaches, involving qualitative, semi-quantitative, and quantitative measures were used. Participants were 20-45 yr old, had homes of 4.7 people (SD ± 1.8), shared income outside of the house in 80% of cases, travelled ≤3 d each-way between blocks of shifts. A major output was a set of camp standards to help ensure recovery sleep. Another requirement identified was access to leave when family members died, since not attending death ceremonies caused a lot of stress and made recovery and safe work less possible. Demanding work conditions and long work hours were also problematic in some operations. Safety systems should better consider fatigue in accidents/incidents and link its data with hours of work information. The interaction of cultures, stress, sleep, fatigue, safety and individual differences must be more effectively addressed in remote mining camps.
2010 by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health