There are numerous reasons why managing fatigue and impairment in your workplace is key to enhancing safety, performance, and employee morale. Here are the first three of a list of six that are not only crucial but also universally applicable.
1. workplace safety regulations cannot include mandates for fatigue management because not all fatigue is work-related.
Although some industry-specific agencies include hours-of-service (HOS) guidelines, like in nursing and trucking, such guidelines are insufficient to effectively manage and monitor individual employees' fatigue, especially when such fatigue is caused by circumstances unrelated to the job, such as illness or insufficient sleep. Because of this, regulatory agencies like OSHA cannot realistically impose mandates for fatigue management. Therefore, individual companies must move beyond just complying with regulations to create the safest possible workplaces.
2. fatigue contributes to about 40% of all industrial accidents.
Given the commonness of fatigue as a contributing factor to workplace accidents, we can also conclude logically that fatigue commonly contributes to errors and productivity lapses, even without associated safety incidents. Managing and monitoring employee fatigue pays more than just safety-related dividends, but productivity and performance ones too.
3. shift work itself is known to contribute to fatigue.
Fatigue and non-alertness are natural states of mind that everyone experiences from time to time. Yet shift workers must often work against their bodies' natural circadian rhythms--the daily flow between states of rest and wakefulness--especially if the shift schedule rotates day and night shifts. It is a myth that people become accustomed to working while fatigued or with accumulated sleep debt. In fact, research shows that even though fatigued people may not feel tired, they still demonstrate fatigue symptoms but do not always recognize the decline in their cognitive performance.