8 Step Risk Management for Worker Fatigue

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Worker fatigue is becoming more of a problem and concern as facilities opt for round the clock production or service schedules. Worker fatigue will commonly lead to more mistakes, lower productivity, and more opportunity for injuries and accidents to happen.  Thus, increasing business costs and expenses.

Common symptoms include, but are not limited to, weariness, irritability, lack of concentration and memory, lack of motivation, depression, headache or loss of appetite and digestive problems. Shifts that are more than 12 hours or scheduled overnight are more likely to lead to worker fatigue. In fact, 12-hour shifts are 38% more likely to have a higher injury rate than the regular 8 hour shift. Here’s an interesting statistic:
approximately 1.2 additional injuries per 100 worker SRP Worker Fatigue Managementhours will occur for every 2-hour increments past the regular 8-hour shift.

According to ergonomist Lance Perry, there are eight steps companies should incorporate in conjunction with their Worker Fatigue Management Health & Safety plan.

  1. Implement a fatigue management safety program.
  2. Assign roles and responsibilities.  Are supervisors and managers in charge of monitoring workers for fatigue?  Are employees supposed to report noticeable worker fatigue?
  3. Include a fatigue reporting system for employees.
  4. Conduct a risk management audit for worker fatigue.
  5. Incorporate fatigue related incident investigations
  6. Require employees to attend fatigue management training.  Training should also include information for families of shift workers who are more susceptible to worker fatigue.   For example, adjusting the family schedule to allow the worker to get a good sleep without distractions.
  7. Educate employees on good sleep habits.
  8. Include an auditing process to ensure corrective actions through continuous improvement.

Bonus:  Plan for and allow employees to take scheduled 15 minute breaks in the first and second half of their shift, in addition to their scheduled lunch break.

Have questions? SRP has safety consultants in Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Midland/Odessa, Shreveport, Honolulu and Pittsburgh ready to answer any questions you may have. Call us today at (318) 222-2364.


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