Fatigue management in the workplace

Fatigue management is a vital area that businesses need to manage. Its importance must be highlighted as it is not often recognised. Fatigue can be a major source of stress among employees and fatigue can significantly affect an employee’s capacity to function. It can affect an employee’s performance, productivity and has detrimental effects on an employee’s mental health. In addition, it increases the potential for workplace injuries to occur.
 
What is Fatigue?
Fatigue is an acute and/or ongoing state of tiredness that leads to mental or physical exhaustion and prevents people from functioning within normal boundaries. Working long hours with intense mental or physical effort or during some or all of the natural time for sleep, can cause fatigue. All of these have obvious implications for workplace and public safety. Fatigue can also have long-term effects on health.
 

 
Why Fatigue is important to manage?
 
Fatigue can have catastrophic impacts, especially at work. In environments where alertness is necessary, safety can be compromised due to errors, increasing the propensity for accidents and having staff suffer worse injuries. This is especially true for vocations where skill and alertness are important. Machine operators, vehicle operators, work demanding high levels of concentration or working odd shifts or times, are some examples of why fatigue management is necessary.
 
Its effect can be far-reaching, but there may also be short-term impacts. Some long term impacts may include:
 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Heart problems
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes

 
Fatigue Management
 
There must be a conscious effort to manage fatigue. Companies have a responsibility to their staff to ensure that they don’t cause or act in ways that cause fatigue. While fatigue affects a person’s health, increases the occurrence of workplace injuries, and reduces performance and productivity within the workplace, it can also adversely impact families.
 
The Factors Contributing To Fatigue

  • The mental and physical demands of work
  • Work scheduling and planning
  • Working time
  • Environmental conditions
  • Personal factors

 
Causes of Fatigue
 
Below is a sample list of what causes fatigue.
 

 
Risk-Assessment Methods
 
The following are examples of risk-assessment methods:

  • Consulting workers on workloads and schedules – ask if they are having or have experienced work-related fatigue
  • Analysing an audit of working hours and ensure this includes comparing planned working hours with hours actually worked. Where appropriate, related issues to consider in the audit may include work-related travel and work completed outside of normal hours (e.g. when people take work home)

 
In an organisation, employees are our most valuable assets. Therefore, we must ensure that their health and safety is managed. Fatigue cannot be cured, however there are steps in place to prevent it. A risk management approach to fatigue not only prevents fatigue but helps managers and employees better understand it. Educating and training employees about fatigue and the risks associated with them is essential.
At KALTech Group we have solutions to assist with the effective management of fatigue. Talk to us about our HCM and OH&S solutions to experience the KALTech Difference!
 
During this festive season we all get some well-deserved time off to relax and enjoy quality time with family and friends. These breaks whilst exciting, are essential in ensuring we have time to rest and relax, thereby also contributing to the management of fatigue.
 

 
Louise
KALES Consultant

This entry was posted on December 20th, 2016.
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