How to Combat Fatigue and Distraction in the Workplace

Posted by
Lance Roux
on Nov 20, 2014

how_to_combat_fatigue_and_distraction_at_workJobs require employees to stay focused on their specific roles and goals in order to accomplish the tasks at hand as well as to avoid workplace injuries.  Mental states such as fatigue and distraction often lead to careless inattention and can have a direct effect on workplace safety. Fatigue and the inability to maintain focus can impair every aspect of human performance.  As with other workplace hazards, management and individuals need to work together to reduce the risk and impact of fatigue and distraction within the workplace.

As with workplace safety in general, the effort to minimize on-the-job distractions is ongoing. Although employees may pay more attention to the job at hand and are able to better minimize distractions shortly after a near miss or workplace incident, experts warn this will eventually fade. It is critical that workers know how to identify the onset of distracted thinking and fatigue in order to combat these dangerous states.

Five useful tips for addressing employee fatigue and distraction include:

  • Manage the workplace environment and practices to minimize the factors that often contribute to fatigue

  • Encourage employees to better manage their outside work stressors to decrease the onset of fatigue and mental distraction

  • Offer employees more breaks throughout the day where they are able to move around and increase blood flow. This may actually increase productivity while reducing the risk of injuries due to distraction and fatigue

  • Conduct walk-through observations and keep an eye out for employees who may be distracted from the job at hand. Walkthroughs should not be a rare occasion as they can be distracting to the worker if they are not performed regularly.

  • Encourage variance in employee work tasks if possible to encourage alertness and refocus from the transition of moving from one task to another. Mindfulness techniques can help.

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Tags: Safety Tips, Fatigue

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