Fatigue in your work premises relates to a state of mental and physical exhaustion, which can have an impact on a person’s ability to work safely and effectively. To ensure that your employees remain safe it’s important to establish a fatigue management plan should anyone be affected. This plan should enable your staff to remain safe and reduce the chance of any incidents associated with the issue that could be against standard Work Health and Safety procedures.

What is fatigue and what is the impact on work life?

Fatigue is characterised by tiredness, lack of concentration, poor vision, forgetfulness, or slow reflexes. Any of these symptoms can have a dramatic effect on the individual’s ability to carry out their job effectively, whatever their role within the company.

Typically caused by excess physical or mental activity or lack of sleep, fatigue can not only impact the employee’s safety in the workplace but the safety of others. Risk of injury, especially in labour-intensive roles or operating machinery, is greatly increased when a member of staff is not fit for the role, jeopardising work health and safety.

If you notice an employee with any symptoms of fatigue, it needs to be addressed with care and empathy for the employee’s wellbeing.

Managing fatigue

As an employer, you can take steps to avoid workforce fatigue. Be aware of the symptoms so that you can notice any signs of fatigue before an issue arises. By staying up to date with Work Health and Safety regulations, you can provide a safe environment for your employees.

Check staff schedules regularly to ensure your employees are not overworked. Scheduling too many shifts for a given employee, such as too many night shifts followed by a day shift or working too many consecutive days, won’t provide your staff with sufficient time to rest which can greatly affect their work-life balance.

Communication

It’s important to be open with your staff and encourage communication. Carrying out regular meetings or performance reviews will provide the opportunity for your staff to speak with you should they feel they need to, without feeling pressured or guilty.

Some of your employees may not understand the symptoms of fatigue, so approach them carefully and encourage them to discuss their wellbeing with you in a friendly manner. Providing advice and clear next steps will help them to have a better work-life balance, reducing the risk of tiredness and being overworked.

RITEQ’s workforce system can help with fatigue management.

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