What is fatigue? It occurs when there is a substantial lack of sleep and this can also be heightened from prolonged mental activity or even bouts of stress and anxiety. While machines at the workplace may become faulty, human error is also prevalent and plays a large role in mistakes and accidents.
Fatigue and Intoxication
We all know how being intoxicated can affect our jobs and negatively affect our decision making, and fatigue can have the same kind of effect. When you extend your waking hours past fifteen hours, your mental and physical abilities begin to detiorate. This kind of impairment is similar to the effects of have a 0.04 blood alcohol level.
The longer you are awake and the more sleep you lose, the higher the risk of an accident or other incident. Therefore, it is important that employees and employers alike understand the risks and effects of fatigue in the workplace.
The Effects of Fatigue in the Workplace
Accidents in the workplace as a result of fatigue can add up to be quite costly. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), fatigue accidents included slip and falls, and other work related illnesses. Not only does fatigue affect the individual with poor sleep, it also affects those around them as well it can severely impact the health and safety of others because of the lack of alertness and focus, poor decision making, and slower reaction times.
Worker productivity also suffers due to fatigue and can cost the company up to $3000 per employee annually. Those who work rotating shifts are more susceptible to fatigue because they aren't able to adapt their natural body clocks to alternative sleep patterns and this can significantly impact their level of sleep.
Combatting Workplace Fatigue
If you find that you often feel tired at work, there are a few things you can do to help combat fatigue and help keep everyone around you safe. Eating often is recommended to keep your energy levels up. It is also a good idea to get up and moving, lose some
weight to gain more energy, and try to get a good night of sleep.
Reducing stress and regular exercise have also been found to be helpful in the fight against fatigue. A few signs of fatigue may include chronic tiredness, headache, dizziness, aching muscles, slow reflexed and responses and impaired decision making and judgment.
Sleep and Health
To avoid workplace injury and remain more productive, sleep needs to be factored into a person's overall health. The average adult needs to have between seven and nine hours of sleep per night but many only average around six hours.
Understanding the importance of sleep and learning ways to fight chronic fatigue can go a long way in keeping you and those around you safe in the workplace to avoid accidents and the consequences of poor sleeping habits.