Workers’ fatigue is a significant problem in modern industry, largely because of high demand jobs, long duty periods, disruption of circadian rhythms, and accumulative sleep debt that are common in many industries. Fatigue is the result of integration of multiple factors such as time awake, time of day, and workload.
Every business and industry can be affected by fatigue. However, some types of work and some sectors have an inherently higher risk of fatigue, particularly when shift work is part of their business model which is commonplace in the mining and resources industry.
What is fatigue?
Fatigue is an extreme level of tiredness and drowsiness. In the workplace, fatigue is mental and/or physical exhaustion that reduces your ability to perform your work safely and effectively.
Signs of fatigue
There are many signs of fatigue including
- tiredness even after sleep
- reduced hand-eye coordination or slow reflexes
- short term memory problems and an inability to concentrate
- blurred vision or impaired visual perception
- a need for extended sleep during days off work.
Causes of fatigue
Causes of fatigue can be work related, personal or a combination of both. They can also be short term or accumulate over time.
Work causes of fatigue might include:
- prolonged or intense mental or physical activity
- sleep loss and/or disruption of your internal body clock
- organisational change
- exceptionally hot or cold working environments
- work scheduling
- excessively long shifts
- not enough time to recover between shifts
- strenuous jobs
- long commuting times.
Some workers are at a high risk of fatigue because their work typically involves some or all of these factors, for example:
- shift workers
- night workers
- fly-in, fly-out workers
- drive in, drive out workers
- seasonal workers
- on-call and call-back workers
- emergency service workers
- medical professionals and other health workers.
Impacts of fatigue in the workplace
Fatigue in the workplace doesn’t only impact on workers’ mental and physical health, it can also impact on the health and safety of those around them.
Fatigue results in a lack of alertness, slower reactions to signals or situations, and affect a worker’s ability to make good decisions. This can increase the risk of incidents and injury in a workplace, particularly when:
- operating fixed or mobile high-risk plant
- driving a vehicle
- working at heights
- working with flammable or explosive substances
- hazardous work
Managing fatigue in the workplace
Most people are aware of the dangers of driver fatigue but our ability to recognise the signs diminishes as we become more fatigued. Fortunately, SmartCap have created wearable technology that monitors fatigue in real time, helping to eliminate the risk of microsleeps. Our product, ‘Life’ is the world’s most effective fatigue monitoring solution that provides real-time feedback, helping operators manage their alertness.
The team at SmartCap are committed to safety and ensuring that everyone gets home safely every day. We believe that every person is responsible for managing their own fatigue, and our technology is designed to ensure that individuals are empowered to make this possible. Through alerts, reports and profiles each user will know when they are at risk and the times of the day that their risk is greatest. SmartCap helps our customers to develop and implement techniques to effectively manage fatigue to ensure their workforce is safe. This is able to occur due to:
- Centralised Monitoring
- Real time fatigue monitoring technology using EEG
- Real Time Fatigue Alerts provided to the operator
- Effective Results
- Road Tested & Proven
Life by SmartCap empowers every worker with early-warning alerts. Without the need for in-cab cameras, Life ensures ongoing compliance with even the strictest of workplace privacy requirements.
Learn more about how SmartCap can help manage fatigue at your workplace today.