Health & Safety Moment
Fatigue is the mental or physical exhaustion that stops a person from being able to function normally. Sleep deprived people have slower reaction times, impaired hand-eye coordination, and are more likely to make errors. This reduces performance and productivity in the workplace while increasing the risk of incidents and injuries. The health effects of fatigue include: Higher risk in heart disease, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders, depression, and anxiety. The level of fatigue depends on workload, length of the shift, hours, and days worked, and time of day or night worked. Studies have shown night shifts have the highest risk of fatigue due to changing of the sleeping patterns.
Recommended Actions to Manage Fatigue in the Workplace:
• Ensure adequate amount of sleep (7-9 hrs.) every 24 hrs. to recuperate
• Eat healthy foods on a regular basis throughout the shift
• Stay hydrated in hot and humid environments
• Take a break – stop what you are doing, walk around or exercise, and get some fresh air
• Don’t trust caffeine for alertness – takes too long to have an effect and lasts only a short time