BlogEmployee Articles

Toolbox Talk: Fatigue Awareness

By September 1, 2020 No Comments

Fatigue reduces a person’s ability to work safely and effectively. As a result, fatigue increases the risk of injuries or other accidents, even though someone’s fatigue may be the result of work and/or out of work factors. Both management and individuals need to work together to identify and reduce the risk and impact of fatigue. However, there is only one cure for fatigue – sleep.  So for the safety of those around you and yourself, know the signs and symptoms of fatigue and plan accordingly.

What is Fatigue?

Fatigue is the state of feeling very tired, exhausted, weary, or sleepy. Fatigue results from a lack of sleep and can be heightened from prolonged mental activity or long periods of stress or anxiety. Boring or repetitive tasks can also increase feelings of tiredness.

Fatigue in the Workplace Statistics

  • Fatigue carries an overall estimated cost of more than $136 billion per year to employers in health-related lost productivity
  • 1 in every 5 workers is sleep deprived
  • Poor sleeping habits lead to stress on the job

Signs and symptoms of fatigue

  • Job performance slows
  • Job quality is reduced
  • Can’t recall last thought or conversation
  • Trouble solving problems
  • Making frequent errors
  • Trouble focusing
  • Head drooping
  • Can’t stop yawning
  • Errors in judgement

Tips for Staying Alert

  • Periodically rotate jobs (with foremen’s approval) – keep it fresh
    • Set up a job rotation schedule (if feasible) if the work is mundane and not stimulating
  • Limit the coffee and artificial stimulants; ingesting these stimulants throws off the body’s natural ability to stay alert and focused
  • Eat a balanced diet and drink enough fluids to stay hydrated; ensure a fair balance of proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins
  • Sleep a minimum of 7 hours per day and strive for work/life balance; allow adequate time to recharge for the next workday
  • Exercise; stretch the muscles each morning before starting work
    • This allows for better blood flow which supplies oxygen
  • Drink plenty of water, particularly in hot working environments

Remember, success starts with safety … and in this case, sleep!