Managing Fatigue in the Workplace

Fatigue. A nurse hold her head

Fatigue in the workplace is a serious issue with the potential to impact on the safety of your workers,  product and the organisation.

While industries such as road transportation, mining and healthcare have known about the effect of fatigue and introduced fatigue management systems, it’s time other industries took note and started managing the affect of fatigue on their workers.

The global financial crisis has had affected many organisations in Australia. Redundancy have left  remaining employees pick up the slack resulting in working longer hours in an attempt to keep the company viable and with it, their jobs.

The short term affect of fatigue can be seen in:

  • Reduced concentration
  • Impaired attention
  • Poor judgement
  • Inability to assess problems
  • Impaired decision making
  • Slower reaction time
  • Mood swings.

More worryingly is that long-term fatigue can have serious health risks for your employees, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Psychosocial disorders
  • Fertility problems.

It can be difficult to know exactly if and when the workforce is suffering from fatigue.

However the OHS reporting procedures can provide a clue.  Consider fatigue as a contributing factor for any incidents, near misses or injuries in your workplace. Other data, such as absenteeism and staff turnover, can also be seen as an indicator of fatigue amongst your workers.

If your employees work in shifts, work more than 48 hours in any five-day period, don’t have two consecutive days off in any seven-day period or fatigue has been identified as a risk as part of your overall risk assessment, a Fatigue Management Plan should be developed and implemented in consultation with the staff.

Exhausted workers are susceptible to a number of risks which a fatigue management plan can help monitor and avoid before the risk becomes an incident.

For any further information please contact Safety Services  Australia  029 8363100 or