Workplace Fatigue: A Chronic Issue

You know the feeling: 2:00p.m. rolls around and the workday seems to hit a lull. Lunch is settling in and you’re feeling a little drowsy…

Whether it’s a midday crash or adjusting to a new work schedule, we’ve all felt tired at work. But workplace fatigue doesn’t just affect productivity, it can pose a serious risk in the workplace.

The Dangers of Workplace Fatigue

You may not think that simply being tired at work can pose that big of a safety threat, but the facts are alarming. Drowsiness can greatly affect your coordination and inhibit your reaction time. If you’re working in an active or technical environment (construction, industrial), this can be a deadly combination.

Even if you think you’re safe working in a traditional office setting, this isn’t always the case. Even in the office, there are risks that can pose serious threats if you’re not careful. Think about basic tasks like operating a motor vehicle; if you drive to and from work while drowsy, you are putting yourself and everyone else at risk.

Fatigue in the Workplace: Facts & Figures

By just how much workplace fatigue is underestimated by employers and employees alike is alarming. The National Safety Council recently published a report outlining some figures pertaining to perceptions of fatigue in the workplace. Here are some highlights:

  • 13% of workplace injuries result from fatigue
  • 32% of employers report injuries and near-misses due to worker fatigue
  • 51% allow a night shift immediately before or after a day shift
  • 60% lack a designated employee rest area

Combating Fatigue

Workplace fatigue may be a prevalent issue, but it’s also a preventable one. There are things that you can do, both as an employer and an employee to combat fatigue in the workplace.

For Employers:

Talk with your employees about fatigue; make an effort to find root causes. Where possible, try to allow schedule adjustments and communicate the benefits of healthy rest.

For Employees:

If you’re feeling tired at work, communicate with your employer(s). If your fatigue stems from your work schedule or conditions, make sure they know that. Try to maintain a consistent sleep cycle and make sure you’re getting a full night’s sleep.

Additional Resources

For more tips and information on preventing workplace injuries, check out our blog.