Why manage human fatigue?

Human fatigue may be defined as a physiological state of reduced mental or physical performance capability resulting from sleep loss or extended wakefulness, circadian phase, or workload (mental and/or physical activity) that can impair a person’s ability to perform their duties efficiently and safely.

Fatigue has been identified as a major area of risk for many workers in our modern 24 hour society and a significant source of workplace accidents and incidents. Many jurisdictions have legislated that fatigue is a hazard that must be managed in the workplace. Fatigue impacts many aspects of a business’ operations, because of its affects on mood, communication, reaction times, alertness and decision making.

Employees are also affected by fatigue on a personal level, both at home and at work. This can lead to communication breakdowns and anti-social behaviour at home, and dissatisfaction and absenteeism in the workplace. Job satisfaction and staff retention may then become an issue for employers.

While a business cannot eliminate fatigue, it can effectively manage the associated risks. In fact, our comprehensive, data-driven Fatigue Risk Management Solution is a vital part of the new corporate toolkit. As well as forming part of a broader Safety Management System, it is the framework around which human fatigue related risks are managed, operations are planned, and safety is prioritised.

Adopting a proactive approach to human fatigue

Workplace health and safety legislation is partly driving the move towards Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) implementation, but so too is a growing corporate recognition that an organisation’s culture is enhanced when fatigue related risks are managed effectively.

Some businesses are adopting a proactive approach, mindful of their duty-of-care to provide safe work schedules that permit adequate time for sleep, rest and recovery.

It’s a shared responsibility, however, and the individual employee also needs to ensure that they obtain sufficient sleep and rest in order to complete their work duties safely and responsibly.

Effective fatigue risk management requires a holistic approach, one that views the issue in terms of operations, capacity and culture. That’s where InterDynamics can help. Learn more about our unique Risk-Based Approach.

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‘Focus on Fatigue’ is InterDynamics official Fatigue Risk Management newsletter. It’s a valuable read for managers, supervisors, employees and anyone else involved in managing fatigue risk.