Fatigue at Work

Fatigue at Work

  • Fatigue At Work

    How did you sleep last night? Did you get enough sleep? How do you know? It is very important to be aware of yourself. Getting plenty of sleep is a very important part of your personal safety. Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep each 24-hour day. Sleep loss built up slowly over several nights can be as harmful as sleep loss in one night. Both produce a decline in performance such as slower reaction times, failure to respond to changes, and the inability to concentrate and make reasonable judgments. Fatigued persons tested from continuous hours of wakefulness against blood alcohol levels concluded that 17 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.05. Twenty-one hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.08 and 24-25 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0 .10.

What Causes Worker Fatigue?

Several factors including too little, poor quality or interrupted sleep over a period of time can cause fatigue. Fatigue is the body's signal that a rest period is needed. Long work hours and extended and irregular shifts may be stressful physically, mentally and emotionally.

The following are identified as hazards resulting from fatigue that can:

  • Reduce the ability to make decisions
  • Reduce communication skills
  • Reduce attention
  • Reduce the ability to handle stress
  • Reduce reaction time
  • Reduce productivity and performance

Tips for employees

Try to manage your fatigue-related risks in the workplace.

At work:

  • Vary work tasks so you stay alert
  • Take regular breaks
  • Tell your supervisor or manager if you're feeling fatigued

Outside of work:

  • Making sleep a priority
  • Improving the quality and quantity of your sleep; have a regular bed time routine, make sure your bedroom is dark, cool and comfortable; get treatment for sleep disorders.
  • Choose what you eat and drink carefully: eat light nutritious meals (heavy meals can make you drowsy); drink plenty of water, minimize your caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Learn the warning signs of fatigue and to recognize them in yourself, so that you can take a break or have a power-nap

Getting enough sleep is something important that you do for your safety and the safety of your co-workers. If you see the signs of fatigue in a co-worker, draw their attention to the situation to ensure they are able to work safely. If you do not take a proactive step you may be the one to be negatively impacted when an accident occurs.  And remember, we all work to live.

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