The Importance of Addressing Workplace Fatigue
There are many factors that can have a negative effect on a worker’s productivity and well-being, and fatigue is one of them. Fatigue can present itself as weariness or exhaustion, often caused by poor sleep habits, but it can also be a symptom of stress, anxiety, or prolonged mental or physical work. Fatigue in the workplace isn’t just a mild inconvenience—it can also be dangerous and costly.
In fact, fatigue costs Canadian employers an estimated $330 million annually in lost productivity, according to Occupational Health and Safety Canada magazine.
Fatigue can also result in:
- Reduced mental and physical function
- Impaired judgment and concentration
- Decreased motivation
- Slower reaction time
- Risk-taking behaviour
These effects of fatigue can lead to dangerous workplace situations that can result in serious injury.
To help reduce the risks of workplace fatigue, consider the following mitigation strategies:
- Design work areas to have lighting, temperature and noise levels conducive to being productive and attentive.
- Educate and train employees about how to recognize fatigue in themselves and others.
- Provide mental health services.
- Adhere to policies such as maximum hours or service, appropriate shift rotations and mandated breaks.
- Provide comfortable anti-fatigue mats.
- Encourage movement and a change of work tasks when possible. Repetitive tasks without breaks can increase feelings of fatigue.