Fatigue is a common complaint from members of the modern workforce, especially those in high-stress or physically-demanding jobs. While this condition doesn’t present an imminent or obvious threat, worker fatigue can have devastating consequences for a company and its employees. It is a particularly important issue in off-shore sites and other long-term operations where staff are routinely exposed to long shifts, high environmental stress and limited access to leisure activities.
Encourage Healthy Diet and Hydration
There’s nothing wrong with keeping an ample supply of coffee and energy-boosting refreshments on hand to help workers wake up or finish a tough shift. However, employers should also encourage hydration and healthy snacking that actually mitigates the effects of fatigue. Locations with limited or no alternative meal options should take extra steps to deliver a diverse and healthy array of food options for their staff members.
Fatigue Awareness Efforts
Staying up late, getting little sleep and working long shifts is just another normal day for many people. Unfortunately, this bad habit is often reinforced by a general lack of knowledge about the real implications of fatigue on an individual’s health and work. Employers can do organization-wide outreach initiatives to educate employees about the real effects of fatigue. Fatigued workers are much more likely to be involved in a workplace accident than their well-rested counterparts. Fatigue can also have serious long-term consequences, including higher risk of developing serious physical and mental health conditions.
Consider Sleep When Scheduling Shifts
While many people can successfully adjust to strange sleeping schedules, the human body still has a natural cycle based on light levels and other factors. For example, shifts that start early in the morning often expose workers to higher fatigue since it’s difficult to fall asleep in the evenings. Team leaders should schedule shifts to accommodate healthy sleeping habits and ensure that individual workers can get off the clock on time as much as possible.
Maintain a Full Staff
Cutting down to a skeleton crew often seems like an obvious short-term solution for cutting costs, but it can actually do a lot more harm than good. Staff members need to be able to ask for time off when they are sick or in need of a break. Having extra workers on hand to fill in these gaps encourages workers to take advantage of their break and recovery time without causing problems for the team. A full staff also gives employers more flexibility when dealing with unexpected circumstances and can create more opportunities for on-site training or development.
Address Fatigue Factors in the Workplace
Excessive exertion and lack of sleep are often the leading culprits in any case of workplace fatigue, but they are far from the only ones. Employers can address some of these day-to-day issues by talking to their workers and observing normal activities in the workplace. Improving the ergonomics of the space, like improving accessibility to certain equipment or getting more supportive chairs, can make a big difference.
The Whole Health Approach
As innovators and experts in industrial safety services, Pharma-Safe takes a comprehensive approach to on-site wellness development. We understand the short and long-term effects of exhaustion, including potentially significant impacts on productivity and worker well-being. These are both crucial issues for any employer, which is why fatigue management is a necessary part of any broad workplace health and safety strategy. Partner with Pharma-Safe today to address the fatigue at the source.