How to Manage Workplace Fatigue
Lack of sleep can make people grouchy and slow to react…but did you know it could also put your worker’s life at risk? Countless studies have found that sleepiness behind the wheel is almost as bad as drinking and driving. What is less well publicised is the role fatigue plays on other types of accidents – particularly in the workplace.
What Is Fatigue?
Fatigue refers to the decline in mental and physical performance that results from prolonged exertion, sleep loss and disruption of the internal clock. It can result in tired, distracted and grouchy workers.
What Causes Fatigue?
There are many individual causes of fatigue, such as late nights out, young children or medical sleep disorders. However, there are also a number of work-related factors that employers should consider. One of the main causes include poorly designed shift-working arrangements and long working hours, meaning workers accrue a ‘sleep debt’. Night workers are particularly at risk of fatigue because their day sleep is often lighter, shorter and more easily disturbed.
How Can I Manage The Risks?
A way to manage the risk of fatigue is by placing limits on the number of hours that employees can work. While this sounds easy enough, employee compliance is minimally as everyone wants to earn more! Other measures should therefore be considered, such as:
– Fatigue management training programmes
– Redesigned shift-schedules
– Develop employee fatigue reporting schemes
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