The Dangers of Fatigued Workers

Feeling fatigued on the job might not seem like that big of a deal. But working when you’re drowsy can lead to safety incidents
and injuries.  For fatigued workers, the risks are a lot more significant than feeling a little tired on the job.  According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) only getting five hours of sleep each night can triple a worker’s risk for depression, slips, trips and falls, muscle strains, and dehydration.  And if you’re in the transportation industry, fatigued driving can lead to devastating accidents.  Watch for these signs in yourself and your co-workers that signal fatigue on the job:

• Physical: Look out for yawning, eye rubbing, slurring of speech, slower reaction times or staring blankly into space for a few moments.  • Mental: Telltale signs include having a hard time concentrating, grasping new facts, fading motor skills or even hallucinating.  • Emotional: Being unusually quiet or withdrawn, not feeling motivated, or showing inappropriate emotions for a given situation are telltale signs of fatigue.  • Thinking: Symptoms include exhibiting poor judgement, flawed logic or not recognizing effective solutions to problems.  • Communicating: You or your co-workers may be fatigued if you begin misinterpreting instructions.

Here’s how you can prevent fatigue:  • Work reasonable shift lengths.  Five 8-hour shifts or four 10-hour shifts per week work well.  Shorter shifts during evening hours tend to be more effective than longer ones.  • Get at least 10 consecutive hours of time off-duty daily to ensure you get enough sleep.  • Small rest breaks every couple hours will help you regenerate.  • Look at workloads in relation to shift length. Longer shifts tend o be better for light work.

Posted May 22, 2018
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