Worker Fatigue: Understanding the Risks in the Workplace
- Susan Sawatzky (In-Scope Solutions)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- November 2017
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 45 - 51
- 2017. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 36 since 2007
- Show more detail
- This article explores how fatigue affects worker safety and health.
- The author presents a business case for addressing fatigue in workplaces and barriers to overcome.
- Strategies for success in implementing a fatigue risk management system are discussed as well.
Fatigue is a risk to worker safety and health. For moderate- and high-risk environments, one can present a strong business case to justify comprehensive management of fatigue risks. OSH management has evolved to a point where proactively managing nonphysical hazards such as fatigue is recognized as good business practice.
So why aren’t more organizations in North America effectively managing fatigue as a hazard? To understand the relative inertia in dealing with fatigue, one must understand current barriers and recognize the importance of managing the hazard of fatigue across all levels of operations. Fatigue is a hazard that can exist at the worker level, due to worker health issues or workers who improperly prioritize sleep, and at an organizational level, when fatigue risks are inherent in the scope of operations. Recognizing the different sources of this hazard allows for comprehensive and effective mitigation strategies.
North America is not the first to have recognized or moved toward managing fatigue issues. Thus, myriad proven best practices exist for effectively managing fatigue. Yet, many companies lack an awareness of the need to assess existing risks to proactively manage fatigue using these best practices. Different strategies are needed for low, moderate and high levels of fatigue risk exposure.
Properly managing fatigue in a high-risk environment typically involves multiple levels of control, implemented with strong education and training, to allow for a cultural shift in existing safety management. This shift requires awareness and knowledge at all levels of the organization. It often starts with OSH professionals who understand fatigue issues and develop comprehensive plans to effectively create change.
|File Size||745 KB||Number of Pages||7|