Generally, the word “fatigue” implies feeling tired, sleepy, loss of memory, increased errors in judgment, increased stress, and, poor decision making. Fatigue can be acute or chronic.
Lack of sleep or short terms of heavy mental or physical work can cause acute fatigue. This can be relieved by resting or relaxing. Chronic fatigue, though the exact cause is unknown, is constant and can be long term. Syndromes of chronic fatigue include difficulty concentrating, unusual headaches, joint pain, inability to recall details, excessive day time sleeping, etc. It can be caused by some health conditions, or it can be genetic.
At work fatigue has an impact on work performance, safety, productivity, and efficiency. It increases the risk of injuries and accidents. According to OSHA, long work hours and workers fatigue are major safety concerns. Long hours of mental or physical work, inadequate rest, and high stress can cause fatigue.
What are some things you can eliminate around your facility, office, or project that increase fatigue? Eliminating noise, dim lighting, high temperatures, and long boring tasks can help. Some studies suggest that allowing in more natural light can help decrease fatigue.
Fatigue at work can be extremely dangerous to the person fatigued and everyone around them. Developing procedures that help identify a fatigued employee can be extremely beneficial to reducing fatigue related accidents. Also, long work hours can contribute to fatigue. Especially when the temperature is extremely hot or cold. Efforts should be made to not overwork your staff.
Fatigue can be managed in several different ways. How does your company manage fatigue at work? Can anyone recall a time when fatigue caused an accident? What happened? What was the cause? Did the accident hurt only the fatigued person, or others as well?