Fatigue

What is fatigue?


Fatigue is a condition that is characterized by extreme tiredness, exhaustion, weariness or drowsiness and usually resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness. In the workplace, fatigue is usually a result of long work hours, irregular work shifts, working night shifts, lack of adequate sleep and can cause a general lack of alertness, hazard awareness and / or concentration.
Research published on the osha.gov website states that incident rates are 18% higher during evening shifts; and working 12 hour shifts increases the risk of injury by 37%. In addition to all this, motor vehicle incidents increase by 16.2% for night shift or 12-hour shift employees as they commute to and from their workplace.

What hazards are associated with working while fatigued?


The type and number of hazard that may be presented by fatigue are countless. Here are some very common incidents which are most likely to occur while a worker is fatigued.

1. Increased stress levels, lack of motivation and depression
2. Motor vehicle accident because of operator drowsiness
3. Fatal contact with machinery or equipment
4. Fatal fall to lower level
5. Fatal caught in – or between incidents
6. Fatal struck by incidents
7. Fatal electrical incidents

What can you do to avoid fatigue?


1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep between work shifts
2. Develop an exercise routine if your job is not physically demanding
3. Develop and maintain a healthy diet
4. Avoid overexertion whenever possible
5. Avoid working night shifts or 12 hour shifts whenever possible
6. Report chronic fatigue to your employer if you believe the work pace or activities themselves are the cause of fatigue

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