Exploring the Link Between Fatigue and Workplace Safety

Due to the demands of everyday life, many people arrive at work daily suffering from chronic fatigue. Although it’s common for people to joke about being sleep deprived and even wear their lack of sleep as a badge of honor, in reality, fatigue is a significant risk factor for accidents in the workplace. For people who work with machinery or operate vehicles, fatigue is extremely dangerous to everyone on the work site. It’s essential for site managers to have a robust fatigue risk management system in place to monitor employees and to reduce the chance of a fatigue-related incident. Here is a closer look at the link between fatigue and workplace safety.

How common is fatigue in the workplace?

According to the National Safety Council, fatigue is at epidemic levels. Over 43% of workers report being sleep deprived, and that number increases for workers who have irregular shifts or night shifts. This level of fatigue is extremely damaging to workplace safety. Even missing two hours of sleep can cause effects similar to those experienced after having three beers. In fact, you are three times more likely to be in a car accident if you are fatigued, and that risk spills over to the workplace, where fatigued workers are operating machinery and vehicles.

How does fatigue effective the body?

Fatigue can have a disastrous effect on the overall health of workers. Being awake for 20 hours is equivalent to being legally drunk. Even less drastic episodes of sleep loss can cause weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease, depression, and high blood pressure. These health issues can also have impact on worker performance and safety.

How can fatigue-related workplace issues be addressed?

Supervisors can create a culture that promotes healthy sleep habits and be proactive about scheduling employees in ways that allow adequate time for rest. Workers should also see their doctors about persistent fatigue and get treatment for sleep disorders. Driver fatigue detection systems can also dramatically improve safety.

Guardvant offers OpGuard to monitor operator condition and detect dangerous fatigue-related reaction times, in order to improve workplace safety. To learn more about our fatigue detection systems, call (520) 299-1911.