The last year has pushed the normal boundaries of what most Americans must cope with on a physical, emotional and mental level. It is understandable that many people feel tired and worn out, regardless of their job type or hours worked. As employers, it is important to understand that employee fatigue may be occurring at higher rates due to other factors that are outside your control. It is more crucial than ever to find effective ways for managing workplace fatigue to lessen the strain on your employees.
Dangers of Workplace Fatigue
The health and safety of your workers should always be a top priority. When workers are fatigued, mentally or physically, it can impact their health and performance. For employees, this can mean deteriorating health and immune systems that put them at higher risk for illness and infections. This can impact work production as well. Some of the dangers of workplace fatigue include more employee absences and increased risks for workplace injuries. Illness and injuries of workers can lead to more stress and fatigue for the remaining staff, creating a vicious circle.
Tips for Managing Workplace Fatigue
Employers have a responsibility to their workers to provide a safe and healthy environment. Not only is this for the benefit of the workers, but it also contributes to a productive and profitable business model. Workplace fatigue can be caused by long hours, monotonous or repetitive tasks, strenuous labor, insufficient off-time and stressful workload deadlines. Finding ways to reduce strain on employees and increase awareness is vital for managing workplace fatigue.
1. Employee Awareness and Training
It is crucial that employees understand the dangers of fatigue and how it impacts their safety and performance. Employees should be given access to information on how to manage stress and fatigue to help them maximize their off-time and get the rest they need. Training workers to recognize the signs of fatigue in themselves and others with safeguards in place to remove employees from unsafe conditions without reprimand can reduce injury risks and mistakes on the job.
2. Implement Rotating Schedules for Demanding Tasks
Certain tasks can be more fatiguing than others. For duties that are strenuous or mentally demanding, consider scheduling these at the beginning of shifts or in short increments. The same is true for monotonous or repetitive – rotating employees in and out of these tasks can help prevent workplace fatigue.
3. Allow Enough Off-time for Employees
Managing schedules, especially for large facilities that have two or more shifts, is difficult. However, it is necessary to ensure your employees are getting the off-time they need to rest, relax and recuperate, as well as take care of their families and other duties. Make sure there are at least 11 hours between shifts and a full day (or more) off each week, with shifts no longer than 12 hours. When changing an employee’s rotating shift schedule, always rotate forward (day to night), not backward.
4. Create a Fatigue Risk Management Plan
Having a fatigue risk management plan or FRMP can outline best practices for employees awareness, training, scheduling and safety. This can be a working plan that can be adjusted as needed to improve employee health and work satisfaction while reducing safety risks and increasing productivity.
Managing workplace fatigue and other factors that impact safety and productivity can protect your workforce and your business. SafetyPro Resources offers custom safety management services to help your company find innovative solutions to reduce safety risks. Call our team to schedule a free consultation to discuss improving your company’s safety protocols.