Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Fatigue Prevention In The Workplace

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Fuel Up With Energizing Nutrition

Fatigue Management at the Workplace

Food and oxygen create the energy we need to stay alive. For peak performance, refuel with the right type of food, at the right time, in the right quantity.

  • Eat protein at every meal

    Every day, 1 to 2 percent of the body breaks down and needs to be rebuilt. This requires 20 to 35 grams of protein at every meal. That’s equivalent to one piece of meat the size of the palm of your hand , a three-egg omelet, or a veggie patty with a side of legumes.

  • Don’t shy away from carbs

    Carbohydrates turn into glucose, the fuel our brain and red blood cells run on. So it’s important to add a couple servings of carbs at every meal, including whole grain bread, pasta, and rice, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. If you don’t eat enough carbohydrates, the body converts protein into the required amount of glucose.

  • Choose healthful snacks between long meal gaps

    When it comes to having consistent energy throughout the day, many of us are better off eating smaller meals and snacks. Healthy snacks include yogurt, fruit, raw veggies and hummus, fruit and low-fat cheese, and air-popped popcorn.

What Is Workplace Fatigue

Workplace fatigue is not simply a measure of how long your workers have been sleep-deprived.

Instead, a definition of workplace fatigue that is conducive to effective management will recognize the influence of other factors such as: the health status of your workers the heat and noise levels in your workplace the number of consecutive night-shifts worked, etc.

Here is another way to envision the factors behind workplace fatigue. It is important to consider these factors in determining the fatigue risk that your workers may be subject to:

Preventing Fatigue At Work

Create a healthier and more productive workforce by preventing fatigue at work, says Ann Hall.

Fatigue might not seem like a big deal but it decreases our ability to respond to situations and zaps our energy. It is a risk factor for injury.

We have all had those days where we are working intensely at our computers not taking breaks and under a great deal of stress. At the end of that day we are exhausted. We didnt do heavy physical activity, rather we worked too hard, for too long. For many of us this means that when we get home we crash.

If this happens every once in a while that is one thing, but many people repeat this pattern every work day. Can you imagine the stress that places on their health? How it affects their quality of life?

To prevent this ongoing cycle, employees must learn to manage fatigue by balancing and pacing themselves throughout the day. The skill of pace is not one that comes easy for many. You have to remind yourself to slow down and take small breaks along the way to achieve overall endurance.

Ask a runner how they pace themselves for a race. The answer will vary depending on the distance, difficulty of the course, environmental factors and their personal health condition. There are many things to consider in order to know how to pace yourself in order to have a good, safe, comfortable run, rather than a run where you are puking a mile from the finish line.

Fatigue

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Fatigue Prevention In The Workplace

It may sound hard to believe, but fatigue is one of the most dangerous and crippling health effects an employee on the job can experience. Fatigue has been, and still is, one of the leading causes of work-related accidents. In fact, nearly eighty percent of all workplace accidents involve fatigue in one form or another, not to mention traffic accidents. This is mainly because fatigue is very common and it is easy to be affected by it. Some of the common causes include loss of sleep, shift work or night work, malnutrition, and weather stress. Not only does fatigue have many causes, it also has many varieties, such as physical fatigue, emotional fatigue, mental fatigue, and burnout, which is a combination of the previous three.

In our high stress society its hard not to be affected by fatigue in one way or another. This is understandable, but that doesnt mean that you have to feel exhausted every single day just to get your work done. Ignoring your health just to complete a task can lead to serious, long-lasting medical problems. There are many methods for preventing and treating fatigue that can help you feel refreshed, focused and energized. No, you may not be able to completely eliminate fatigue from your life, but you can be trained to manage it.

Learn Fatigue Management Guidelines

Supreme Safety

The Hard Hat Training series has the facts and the methods for you to combat fatigue. The training includes an in-depth training series to educate you and your coworkers on fatigue management guidelines. This safety training program includes extensive training, helpful documents, quizzes, and plans for fatigue prevention. Follow these training modules and you will be able to create the ideal work environment regardless of your industry. Good luck and stay safe!

Read Also: What Diseases Cause Fatigue And Joint Pain

Your Responsibility As A Pcbu

A PCBU has the primary duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, workers and other persons are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking. This includes ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable:

  • provision and maintenance of a work environment without risks to health and safety
  • provision and maintenance of safe systems of work, and
  • monitoring the health of workers and the conditions at the workplace for the purpose of preventing illness or injury of workers arising from the conduct of the business or undertaking.

The duty on the PCBU is not removed by a workers preference for certain shift patterns for social reasons, their willingness to work extra hours or to come to work when fatigued. The PCBU should adopt risk management strategies to manage the risks of fatigue in these circumstances.

Encourage Movement Throughout The Day

Fitness isn’t just important for employees’ physical health. Regular movement improves energy, mood, memory, and productivity.

  • Provide an onsite fitness center or discounts to local gyms.
  • Encourage movement at work by offering safe stairwells and on-property walking paths.
  • Use standing-height conference tables in meeting rooms to offer an alternative to sitting.
  • Offer stand-up and/or walking desks.
  • Provide organized short physical-fitness breaks or classes in the middle of the day.

Also Check: How To Reduce Chronic Fatigue

Is Fatigue A Workplace Issue

Everyone should be concerned about the impact of fatigue as it can be considered a form of impairment, making fatigue a workplace hazard. However, fatigue levels are not easily measured or quantified therefore, it is difficult to isolate the effect of fatigue on incident and injury rates.

Workplace factors that may influence fatigue are shift rotation patterns, balanced workloads, timing of tasks and activities, availability of resources, and the workplace environment .

However, be sure to consider other factors beyond a lack of sleep including mental fatigue, such as mental workloads, demanding mental activities or stress, long periods of anxiety, or long periods of monotonous tasks, etc.

Many studies focus on the amount of sleep required. Some research studies have shown that when workers have slept for less than 5 hours before work or when workers have been awake for more than 16 hours, their chance of making mistakes at work due to fatigue are significantly increased.

Research has shown that the number of hours awake can be similar to blood alcohol levels. One study reports the following:

  • 17 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.05
  • 21 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.08
  • 24-25 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.10
  • reducing mental and physical functioning,
  • impairing judgement and concentration,
  • insomnia
  • restless legs syndrome
  • narcolepsy

Monitoring And Review Of Control Measures

Preventing Fatigue at Work Safety Tips

Not all control measures will work as effectively as intended, and they may not remain effective over time as things change.

It is therefore essential to engage in ongoing monitoring and review of control measures, learn from experiences and make changes as necessary. High-risk hazards will require more frequent review. This process may require steps 1 and 2 to be repeated to ensure all risks have been controlled for so far as reasonably practicable.

Remember, consultation with employees is an important part of this process, which will likely involve trialling and refining control measures and considering employee feedback, new technology and changes in knowledge.

Having a monitoring and review process and plan in place will help you clarify your review objectives and the actions you need to take to make sure your review is successful.

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When Do Injuries Peak

Studies suggest that 13% of work injuries can be attributed to sleep problems. With so many workers struggling to fight fatigue, what exactly is the root of the problem?

According to a review conducted by Uehli of 27 research studies, fatigue related incidents occur when normal work hours increase. As demonstrated in the graph below, injury occurrences are highest in workers who normally sleep less than seven hours a day, and who work more than 40 hours a week.

When do injuries peak?

When employees work more than 40 hours a week and sleep less than 5 hours a night.

Physical Mental And Emotional Demands Of Work

Table 3 in the full PDF document provides an overview of measures that can be used to address the risks associated with the physical, mental and emotional demands of work. These are listed in the order of the hierarchy of control, with controls to eliminate risks at the top. These controls should be considered first, before considering other options.

Recommended Reading: Natural Cures For Chronic Fatigue

What Is The Circadian Rhythm

One of the major factors contributing to worker fatigue particularly related to shift-work is the disruption of the circadian rhythm. The human biological system operates on an internal clock in which different functions run on different cycle lengths. The circadian rhythm, for example, is a rhythm that cycles approximately every 24 hours, with various functions either rising or falling at various times throughout the 24-hour period.

For example, high body temperature and heart rate are associated with increased alertness and performance and occur during daylight hours. Sleep, on the other hand, is associated with a lowering of body temperature, heart rate, and cortisol, which decrease in the evening, then rise in the morning before we awaken.

The physiological tendency to sleep at night and to be awake during the day is powerful difficulties occur when work-time arrangements cause individuals to work against this tendency. Altering the normal sleep/wake cycle affects both the ability to remain alert and the ability to sleep. Non-traditional work hours create a misalignment between the internal clock on the normal activity and sleep schedule.

Shift workers circadian rhythm is out of step with the environment, and no matter how hard they try, they will always struggle to adjust to new work-and-rest schedules.

These shift assessments measure the impact of factors like:

Interaction With Other Hazards

Fatigue in the Workplace

When taking a risk management approach to fatigue, it is very important to consider how fatigue might interact with other workplace hazards. The level of risk associated with some hazards, such as manual tasks and exposure to hazardous chemicals, dust, and noise, may increase when working extended hours.

Read Also: Low White Blood Cell Count Symptoms Fatigue

Why Is Fatigue A Problem In The Workplace

Fatigue may increase the risk of incidents because of a lack of alertness. Fatigue may result in a slower reaction to signals or situations and affect the ability to make good decisions, particularly when:

  • operating fixed or mobile plant including driving vehicles
  • undertaking critical tasks that require a high level of concentration
  • undertaking night or shift work when a person would ordinarily be sleeping.

Learn To Prevent Fatigue In The Workplace With Gallagher Bassett

Demonstrate your commitment to employees by investing in fatigue prevention and creating a positive workplace that will improve your business in the long term.

If you can start to implement even one or two of these actions into your management style, you will start to notice positive changes in your organisations culture and workplace environment. To get started, our “Prevent Fatigue at Work” Poster and even customise it with your company logo. Learn more useful tips by reading our regular blogs.

GBs injury management team can assist you to get the best commercial and human outcomes possible. Find out more about today!

This publication is not intended to offer legal advice or client-specific risk management advice. General descriptions contained herein do not include complete definitions, terms, and/or conditions, and should not be relied on for claims management interpretation. Actual claims and risk management policies must always be consulted for full coverage details and analysis.

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Offer Nutritious Food And Drinks

Providing free or reduced cost meals and snacks encourage employees to stop and refuel. Offer healthy options in the break room, such as fresh or dried fruit, unsalted nuts, bean chips, popcorn, hummus and raw veggies, Greek yogurt, and bars with simple ingredients like fruit and nuts. Provide easy access to chilled, filtered water coolers, herbal teas, coffee, and more.

What Are Some Tips For Good Eating Habits That Help Encourage Sleep

5 Ways to Prevent Workplace Falls

The Dietitians of Canada have made the following recommendations:

Establish Regular Eating Times

Our bodies need energy provided by food to be able to perform our daily activities. Having meals at regular times is important to function at our best. If you tend to skip meals or eat at irregular times, you may experience fatigue, food cravings or increased eating at the next meal. Aim to have at least three meals a day including a variety of foods as described in Canada’s Food Guide. If working night shifts, try to have your âmain mealâ before going to work. A heavy meal during the night may cause heartburn, gas or constipation, as well as make you feel sleepy or sluggish.

Snack Ideas for Your Work Break

Having snacks in between meals is a great way to keep us nourished and give us the energy we need to complete our work shifts. At breaks, opt for healthy snacks that include combinations from a variety of foods from the four food groups. Here are some ideas:

  • crackers or fruit and cheese
  • social tea cookies and milk
  • yogurt and a small low fat muffin
  • celery sticks with peanut butter
  • baby carrots with low fat cream cheese dip
  • cut up fresh fruit or have nuts mixed with plain yogurt

Check your Caffeine Intake

Excessive intake of caffeine can cause insomnia, headaches, irritability and nervousness. It is recommended that foods containing caffeine should not be consumed up to 8 hours before sleeping.

Common caffeine sources include:

Also Check: What Causes Extreme Fatigue And Muscle Weakness

Review Of Organisational Records And Data Analyses

Workplace data can provide valuable information to help inform the decision-making process in the assessment of risks. A review of relevant records and other workplace data can help determine potential fatigue risks including the likelihood of employee health and safety being affected, potential severity of the consequences of fatigue, and to decide upon control measures so far as reasonably practicable.

The data should be analysed to establish a baseline for monitoring changes in reporting, measuring improvement, and to monitor and analyse trends. The data can be used to support decision-making and setting priorities for further investigation, assessment, action or review.

A holistic approach should be undertaken to inform and verify any conclusions drawn from workplace data, considering factors such as:

  • reviewing data across an adequate period of time to ascertain common themes and trends
  • ensuring multiple relevant data sources are used and conclusions are not drawn from the data in isolation
  • ensuring data selected is reflective of all relevant employee experiences, not just a select few
  • using both lead and lag indicators

Provide Stress Management Tools

The “fight or flight” response of our stress hormones allows us to maneuver a vehicle out of a potential crash or face the urge to run out of the room when ill prepared for a meeting . While sometimes life saving, the initial sharp state of alertness from a stress response can leave you exhausted. Here are some proven strategies to release the stress hormones from your body.

  • Set up stress-reduction classes.
  • Provide unlimited free phone counseling for personal or professional issues.
  • Create meditation or nap rooms to be used during morning and afternoon breaks.
  • Set up a “fun room” or equip your break room with non-work activities such as Ping-Pong tables, foosball, and basketball hoops.

Read Also: What Is Adrenal Gland Fatigue

Long Work Hours Extended Or Irregular Shifts And Worker Fatigue

Worker fatigue has been studied in aviation and other modes of transportation, the military, emergency response, healthcare, firefighting, law enforcement and other fields. There are several ways that workers and employers can help reduce the hazards of worker fatigue.

What Can Employers Do?

Employers can reduce the risk of worker fatigue in the workplace by:

  • Examining staffing issues such as workload, work hours, understaffing and worker absences, scheduled and unscheduled, which can contribute to worker fatigue.
  • Arranging schedules to allow frequent opportunities for rest breaks and nighttime sleep.
  • Making adjustments to the work environment such as lighting, temperature and physical surroundings to increase alertness.
  • Providing worker education and training addressing the hazards of worker fatigue, the symptoms of worker fatigue, the impact of fatigue on health and relationships, adequate quality and quantity of sleep and the importance of diet, exercise and stress management strategies to minimize the adverse effects of fatigue.
  • Consider implementing a Fatigue Risk Management Plan under which, like other risk factors, fatigue can be managed.
What is a Fatigue Risk Management Program?

The United States Coast Guard Crew Endurance Management Practices Guide outlines a program for controlling risk factors that affect crew member performance and shipboard safety in the commercial maritime industry.

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