Operational Readiness and Resilience

The Operational Readiness and Resilience group at the Appleton Institute addresses the operational readiness of Australian workers and the implications for resilience of both individuals and communities. Operational readiness describes the capacity of workers to effectively and safely perform their duties. We are particularly interested in the interaction of sleep, work, health and safety across a wide range of industries.

In partnership with industry and community groups, our program of work considers short and long-term physical and psychological health, as well as social, occupational and domestic impacts of nonstandard patterns of work. Utilising quantitative and qualitative research methods in both the laboratory and the field, our aim is to improve our understanding of the factors that impact operational readiness and to develop evidence-based, usable strategies for workers, their families and their communities.

Key Research Personnel

Recent funding sources include:

  • Australian Research Council
  • SafeWorkSA
  • National Disaster Resilience Program
  • Australasian Sleep Association.

Our recent collaborators include:

  • SA Ambulance
  • Country Fire Service
  • Metropolitan Fire Service
  • Victoria Police
  • Victoria State Emergency Service.

Research projects include:

  • Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) – design and implementation
  • Optimal roster design and roster risk evaluation
  • The impact of on-call on anxiety, sleep and next day performance
  • Countermeasures for sleep inertia
  • Resilience emergency services workers
  • Epidemiology of working time arrangements and health
  • Paramedics’ first responses to shift work
  • Physical activity and exercise for shift workers
  • Emotional preparedness for disaster response in the community
  • Specific impacts of non-standard working hours for women.

Burning Desire to Help Australian Firefighters Recognised

Research shows that just 30 seconds of exercise upon waking can reduce sleep inertia (grogginess), and help firefighters and other on-call workers become more alert. This is thanks to the work of CQUniversity Appleton Institute's Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Grace Vincent, who was recently awarded a Vice-Chancellor's Early Career Research Award. Dr Vincent’s research involves understanding the interactions between sleep and physical activity in workplaces to optimise health and safety.

The Dual Curse of the Modern Workforce - Sleepiness and Sitting

Over 10 million working Australians experience both prolonged sitting and inadequate sleep. Now, research will examine the effects of being sleepy and sitting on the health and performance of workers. CQUniversity Professor Sally Ferguson leads a team which has secured $626,825 in Discovery Project funding from the Australian Research Council to progress the research titled 'Sleepy and sitting: the dual curse for the modern workforce?'. The four-year laboratory study will investigate the combined health and performance impact of prolonged sitting.