A study conducted by Southern Cross University shows that fathers of new born babies experience cumulative fatigue which in turn may pose a risk in the workplace.


The study, conducted by Southern Cross University senior lecturer Dr Gary Mellor, investigated the relationship between fatigue and work safety behaviour of fathers with newborn babies.


The research, published recently in the American Journal of Men’s Health, found that fathers do experience increased fatigue during early fatherhood and are unable to recover due to poor sleep and furthermore that fatigue was related to decreased safety behaviour at work.


““The survey was completed once by the fathers at six weeks and then again at 12 weeks and we found that while fatigue was increasing, the way fathers thought about safety at work changed,” Dr Mellor said.


“We had very little attrition from the study with 93 per cent of participants seeing it through. Men were keen to tell their story and it seems they are 36 per cent more likely to have a near miss at work and 26 per cent more likely to have a near miss on the road to and from work than someone else.

“The results paint a disturbing picture of fathers with babies undergoing worsening fatigue over the first 12 weeks of their baby’s life, unrelieved by poor and interrupted sleep and with potential consequences to their work safety.”


Dr Mellor suggests that measures may need to be implemented to help fathers cope with the strain of a new baby on their occupational health and safety.

“Parental leave may need to be reconsidered with the way it is allocated,” he said.

“Most of the men in the study had time off at the birth but perhaps parental leave for fathers should be taken later in the baby’s life rather than the first two weeks. This is when fathers are most fatigued and it would allow them time to overcome it.