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Worker Fatigue Affects Safety, Job Performance, and Morale

The National Safety Council reports that fatigue contributes to 13% of workplace injuries. Given the demands of round-the-clock shift schedules and the consequent prevalence of fatigue among the modern workforce, fatigue also contributes to uncountable errors, and it impedes workers’ ability to perform at their best. This impediment can extend to mood and job satisfaction as well, especially where employees would be uncomfortable telling a supervisor they felt too tired to work safely. Such workplace cultures are common.

Fortunately, the importance of managing worker fatigue is becoming better understood, and the work of the National Safety Council has been key in this understanding. They have recently released the second part of their three-part series Fatigue in the Workplace, with the third coming available in the Fall of 2018. The series presents a wealth of enlightening data from survey reports; for example, more than 80% of all workers are exposed to multiple fatigue risk factors, but only 27% of employers communicate about fatigue to their employees.

Fatigue Management Is Universally Applicable

Organizations at the leading edge of safety and performance understand that a comprehensive approach to reducing errors and enhancing safety and productivity includes managing worker fatigue. Although some occupations are more susceptible to fatigue because of shift times or other job demands, fatigue management is universally applicable because all people can be affected by fatigue. Plus, not all worker fatigue is job-related. People can be fatigued for reasons like illness or insufficient sleep, but their fatigue may still affect their work performance and create a safety risk.

Hopefully your organization has not experienced an injury where fatigue was a factor, and hopefully it never does. It is true, however, that the best way to ensure it never does is to understand the risk it presents and then proactively reduce that risk. That’s where Predictive Safety can help.

If you want to dive into the National Safety Council’s fatigue survey reports, the Fatigue in the Workplace series is accessible here: https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/safety-topics/fatigue/survey-report

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