Everybody’s gotten tired of a job at one point or another. It’s one of the few experiences everyone has had, from an ear-piercing babysitting gig to a lousy first job at a greasy burger joint. Getting tired on the job is another, less amusing story.
It’s more than just going to bed late one night and being a little sleepy. Fatigue, as defined by the Mayo Clinic, is a nearly constant state of weariness that develops over time and causes loss in energy, motivation, and concentration. When workers lose concentration on the job, workplace accidents and injuries are bound to happen.
Data from the National Health Interview Survey suggests the estimated annual injury incidence rate for American workers who usually sleep less than five hours daily is 7.89 per 100. Compared with workers who sleep seven or eight hours having an injury incidence rate of 2.27 per 100, this is definitely a problem more businesses have been addressing.
iReportSource offers user friendly risk management for your business, and having fatigued employees on the work field is a definite risk. What can employers do to prevent fatigue and therefore prevent workplace injuries?
Know the Signs
Stop injuries from happening by knowing what to look for. If you can spot fatigue in your workers, pull them aside and discuss the reasons behind their fatigue so you can work with them to keep your organization safe and healthy. According to the Better Health Channel, these are the top fatigue symptoms to keep an eye out for:
- Impaired hand-eye coordination
- Muscle soreness or weakness
- Short-term memory and concentration issues
Know the Causes
Okay, you know the signs. That’s a start, but you can’t really help your employees if you don’t know what’s causing their fatigue in the first place. Better Health Channel cites the four main causes of fatigue as:
- Workplace Causes: Is the fatigue directly related to the tasks and/or stress of their job? This is the cause you can have the biggest hand in fixing.
- Emotional Causes: Does your employee have mental health issues? Depression or grief can cause fatigue.
- Medical Causes: Fatigue can be a sign of a disease, such as a thyroid disorder or diabetes.
- Lifestyle Causes: Alcohol, drug use, or a lack of a regular exercise routine can contribute to fatigue.
Give Workers Well-Deserved Breaks
Everyone needs a break once in a while. Avoid scheduling one employee over five or six days per week, and give workers two consecutive days off. This not only prevents fatigue, but also workplace burnout from your employees.
Two days off per week is a good start, but we can start even smaller when it comes to breaks. The hours in the work day really do add up. We don’t want our workers to waste time, but offering frequent breaks throughout an employee’s shift allows said employee to recharge. Even if it’s just for ten minutes, your employees will thank you. Their improved performance is all the thanks you’ll need.
Educate Workers About Fatigue
Who isn’t tired after a long day of work? The problem is a lot of people don’t know the signs of fatigue and assume they’re simply tired. Provide educational materials to let employees know what to watch for and how to oversee their personal health.
When it comes to risk management, this issue is everybody’s business. Workplace fatigue is almost always preventable, so don’t sleep on the job when it comes to the safety of your employees.