How can worker fatigue be managed?

Worker fatigue should be acknowledged as a serious concern to health and wellbeing.

A summary of what exactly worker fatigue is and the effects can be found here.

Alike to all safety hazards on a construction site, worker fatigue and the risks associated with it not only effect the individual, but also those around them.

The Causes

Some of the most popular causes of worker fatigue can be found below:

  • Working schedules: consistently working on a weekly basis without days off and working longer than 14 hour shifts
  • Daily working hours: working through the day without breaks
  • Sleeping hours: 5 hours sleep instead of the usual 8, or 7 hours sleep instead of the usual 8 over several days
  • Quality of sleep: interrupted sleeping

The Symptoms

Fatigue is displayed through both physical and mental symptoms at a early, moderate and severe level. It is important to note that the individual is not good at assessing their own fatigue. See below for some of the most common symptoms to help spot if a employee is suffering from fatigue:

  1. Early: fidgeting and rubbing of eyes
  2. Moderate: frequent yawning, staring blankly, slouching posture and frequent blinking
  3. Severe: nodding, difficulty keeping eyes open and long blinks

What can you do?

Worker fatigue can be managed and essentially reduced through very simple planning and monitoring. See below for some examples of what you can do as a supervisor:

  • Inform and educate the workforce about fatigue through talks and display boards
  • Review and organise shift schedules to avoid areas where fatigue is likely
  • Consult with the workforce and ask for feedback regarding fatigue patterns
  • Keep a constant awareness for the symptoms of fatigue

You the individual must also be aware of the fact when you are fatigued you raise the risk of causing a safety hazard to yourself and others.

See below for some examples of what you can do as an employee:

  • Ensure you are getting sufficient sleep
  • Alert your supervisor of any sleeping difficulties or related medical conditions
  • Consider your shift patterns when planning activities outside of the workplace
  • Declare if you have a second job

Footer Reference

Office of Rail Regulation. (2012). Managing Rail Staff Fatigue


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