top of page

Fatigue and the Workplace Safety

In January and February one of my major concerns when it comes to keeping our people safe at work is FATIGUE.  There are lots of reasons for considering fatigue as a risk factor this time of year.  Post holidays blues, shorter daylight hours, and harsh winter conditions all contribute to increased feelings of tiredness and sluggishness during these months - especially for my friends working up north!  In this post we will explore critical issues about workplace fatigue and strategies to help your workers combat these challenges.

 

Fatigue impairs an individual’s cognitive and physical abilities, making them more prone to mistakes and lapses in focus.  In industries like construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation the consequences of fatigue can be severe leading to injuries, incidents and even loss of life.  Here’s how fatigue impacts workplace safety.

 

1-    Reduced alertness – making it more difficult for workers to react swiftly and appropriately to potential hazards or emergencies.

2-    Impaired Decision-Making – causing workers to struggle to make sound decisions, especially in high- pressure situations where quick reactions are needed.

3-    Slower Reaction Times – making it less likely to respond promptly to safety alarms, equipment malfunctions or unexpected events.

 

To sum it all up, fatigue can lead to increased risks of incidents and accidents resulting in falls, collisions, machinery mishaps, spills, fires or chemical exposures which pose a threat to workers and the environment.

 

Below are some strategies to combat fatigue and protect your people!

 

1-    Implement adequate rest periods between shifts and pay attention to the provincial and industry regulations about how many hours your people can work safely.  For more information follow this link: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/jobs/workplace/federal-labour-standards/work-hours/breaks-rest-period.html

 

2-    Create Safety Schedules with safety in mind by designing shifts that take circadian rhythms into account. For more information follow this link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5647832/

 

3-    Promote sleep hygiene by providing information on good sleep habits and tips for better sleep quality.    This can be accomplished through safety training and tool-box-talks as well as simply creating information posters.  For more information follow this link:

 

 

4-    Implement fatigue monitoring systems using technology and teamwork to monitor fatigue levels of employees when you identify an issue. As with every other unsafe act, intervention is essential once identified.

 

5-    Open Communication about fatigue issues should be fostered through the workplace.  As with any other safety issues, workers should be comfortable to report fatigue related challenges.

 

6-    Providing adequate breaks is important ensuring the employees have access to regular breaks to recuperate during their shifts.

 

Combating fatigue can be a vital component of keeping your people safe.  By recognizing the possible dangers associated with fatigue and implementing strategies to mitigate those risks we can significantly reduce the risks of accidents and injuries.  Working with your people to create a workplace that safe and productive is a team game.  Your employees and workers play a crucial role in safeguarding their wellbeing by managing their own rest and reporting issues where fatigue should be addressed. 

Good luck out there! Stay warm and stay alert!!!




0 views0 comments
bottom of page