Recognizing and Managing Fatigue

  • 11 Sep 2017 19:03
Fatigue can be described as “Mental or physical exhaustion that stops a person from being able to function normally." Fatigue is mainly caused by a lack of sleep.
Road Map to Safety

However, fatigue is more than just feeling tired or drowsy – it is normal to become tired through physical or mental effort. Fatigue significantly affects a person’s ability to function.

Especially when we work shift work or overtime hours it takes an extra toll on our mind and bodies and uses up more of our energy quicker. We get less sleep and often push ourselves to do more at work and for longer periods. Emergency responses and adverse weather conditions can often add more time to a long work day, commute and bring on fatigue even quicker. If we are to reach our goal of working safely with ZERO incidents, we must focus on safe work practices and hazard avoidance more so when we are tired and feeling fatigued. We are more likely to have an accident at work when we are feeling the effects of fatigue.

How to avoid fatigue

  • Get plenty of sleep – lack of sleep increases the risk of injury and is the leading cause of daytime fatigue.
  • Drink plenty of water – dehydration can decrease alertness and fatigue.
  • Keep moving – if you are feeling tired get up and move. Exercise not only helps reduce fatigue it is also can improve your heart, lungs and muscles.
  • Eat light nutritious meals – consuming heavy meals during the day can make you tired and drowsy.
  • Going to bed with an empty stomach or immediately after a heavy meal can interfere with sleep. If you get home hungry, have a snack that is low in fat and easy to digest. A light snack before going to bed helps in getting a good restful sleep.

    Remember, if you are too fatigued to perform your job safely, notify your supervisor immediately.

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