Fighting fatigue is important for workers

By Kyle Meinert

Hard work involves high-risk activities. To work safely, workers must be physically and mentally alert. This means that fatigue is an enormous risk. Employers and employees have a responsibility to manage fatigue in the workplace. Fatigue is a state of physical and mental exhaustion which reduces a person’s ability to perform work safely and effectively. This may lead to errors, and an increase in workplace incidents and injuries. No one knows your body like you do. That's why each employee should be encouraged to let managers/supervisors know when they feel fatigue. Workplaces and job operations can be adjusted to eliminate overexertion and fatigue hazards.

Signs and Symptoms of fatigue:
  • Constantly tired
  • Little energy 
  • Sluggish
  • Excessive yawning/falling asleep 
  • Less vigilant 
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Inability to concentrate 
  • Poor communication
  • Poor decision-making 
  • Slower reaction time 
Various Causes of fatigue
What causes fatigue? First and foremost – sleep deprivation. Secondly, environmental conditions, such as extreme temperatures. Lastly, if your physical or mental working demands are high.
  
Avoiding Sleep Deprivation
Everyone should get seven to nine hours of sleep each night and maintain a consistent bedtime and wake-up time; even on weekends! Keeping a bedroom dark and cool while sleeping will also help individuals get a more restful sleep.
Eating before bedtime can keep a person up at night along with electronic devices. Individuals should avoid eating heavy meals late at night and make sure to keep your electronic devices out of the bedroom.

Improving Environmental Conditions
Avoiding working during extreme weather or temperatures (low or high) and minimizing exposure through job rotation is also a good idea. Make sure to take adequate breaks and remain hydrated throughout the day.

Managing Physical and Mental Work Demands
Make sure to limit periods of excessive demands with breaks and job rotations by avoiding impractical deadlines and managing workloads. Also, ensure fit for tools and machinery when lifting heavy objects.

Fatigue is a major safety risk to any operation, but avoiding it can be done with ease.

Kyle Meinert is a Risk Advisor with ABC member HNI, a performance-driven risk advisor that delivers insurance, benefits, and advisory strategies. HNI works with ambitious leaders to reduce insurance dependency and boost performance from locations in Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis and Grand Rapids, Michigan.