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Workplace Health and Safety

Are You Watching for These 6 Fatigue Risk Factors?

Fatigue affects every workforce. It decreases a worker’s ability to think clearly, make informed decisions and be a safe and productive worker. Research shows up to 13 percent of injuries in the workplace could be attributed to fatigue. Many factors can put you at risk.

1. Sleep loss

Most adults need seven or more hours of sleep each day. Sleep disorders are one of the biggest hurdles to getting enough sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia are two of the most common. Consider screenings to see if a disorder is affecting you.

2. Demanding jobs

Work tasks that require sustained attention for long periods of time, are monotonous, are repetitive or are mentally demanding can contribute to fatigue. Taking breaks and varying job tasks can help reduce fatigue.

3. Long weeks

In today’s workplace, we’re often tasked with doing more with less, which can lead to long hours. Working more than 50 hours a week can mean long shifts and/or working numerous consecutive days in a row, often resulting in reduced sleep. Research shows working long weeks can significantly increase risk of work injuries.

4. No rest breaks

Rest breaks are an effective way to control fatigue because they allow your body time to recuperate. Even a short 10-minute break can provide time to recover from task-related fatigue.

5. Long commutes

Employees with long commutes, over 30 minutes, are at risk for developing fatigue. A commute adds to a long work day by taking time away from personal responsibilities and recuperation. Long commutes may also increase an employee’s risk for drowsy driving.

6. Improper sleep 

A good night’s sleep means 7-9 hours every day. Create and follow a sleep schedule. Eliminate unnecessary light in your bedroom and keep your bedroom temperate, not hot or cold. Avoid using electronic devices before bed.

Consider if these risk facts are affecting your safety, and speak with your employer if you need help to reduce them.

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