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Tips for recognising and managing fatigue on the job.

Aug 1, 2018

Fatigue is a major factor in a number of workplace incidents and injuries and is a common issue for people in many industries.

Are you constantly on your feet moving around a warehouse, retail store or worksite? Do you have to manage with long periods of repetitive movements on a production line or require high levels of concentration when driving vehicles? All these elements contribute to fatigue.

Depending on the nature of the job, incidents as a result of fatigue can result in severe injuries to you and others. The most extreme incidents can even result in death, particularly for those in control of large machinery like forklifts or trucks.

With this in mind, fatigue management is very important for ensuring your safety and those working around you.

How can you recognise symptoms of fatigue?

  • General feeling of tiredness
  • Increase in the number of errors
  • Decreased productivity
  • Increased forgetfulness
  • Decreased level of concentration
  • Requirement/reliance on medication
  • Family/home issues
  • Moodiness
  • Headaches

These issues can be amplified when you’re sleep deprived so it’s very important to get plenty of sleep to recover from a day’s work.

According to the Australian Government Department of Health, many Australians don’t get enough sleep, and we feel tired as a result. Their research also shows that while sleep disorders like insomnia are sometimes to blame, poor sleep habits or choices are just as often the cause.

Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each day. Losing even one hour of sleep can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly. It also compromises your cardiovascular health, energy balance, and the ability to fight infections.

Key factors in preventing fatigue at work

  • Evaluate your workload, and if it’s too much, speak with your supervisor
  • Ensure you get plenty of sleep – at least 7-9 hours per night is recommended
  • For truck drivers, ensure that you adhere to the strict Fatigue Management guidelines, including the maximum driving hours. For more information, contact Programmed Skilled Workforce if you are unsure.
  • When you take your scheduled break, ensure that you sit down and rest. Give your body a chance to re-energise before going back to work.
  • Keep up the water intake – hydration plays a key role in fatigue prevention. Caffeine and sugar-laden drinks will dehydrate you, so water is the best option.
  • Minimise alcohol and drug intake. Alcohol and drugs can directly impact the amount of sleep you get, and can speed up the onset of fatigue. Remember, you have also read and signed in agreement to Programmed’s Drug and Alcohol Policy.
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle – good food, exercise and sleep will contribute positively to preventing fatigue.

Programmed is a leading Staffing and Maintenance organisation, providing staffing, professional, technical, training and maintenance services across Australia and New Zealand with more than 20,000 employees supporting industry.

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