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    How to manage fatigue in the workplace

    Published on 29 February 2016, Monday, 1:00 AM

    Fatigue and traffic signs can often go hand in hand. People working in the roadworking industry can often become tired as they work long hours.

    It is highly important to manage fatigue in the workplace, as this can increase the risk of accidents and pose a danger to employees.

    The best way to manage this hazard in the workplace is by first identifying the hazard. This means managers must be aware of how many hours their staff are putting in.

    It could be as easy as being more aware of the roster and making sure those carrying out eight hour work days can only work four hours overtime, and those rostered on for a 10 hour shift can only add two hours of overtime.

    Anyone rostered on for 55 hours per week should not be permitted to take on overtime.

    The roster should also provide each worker with enough time to have at least seven to eight hours sleep in each 24 hour period, which is around 50 hours in a seven day long week.

    Another thing to bear in mind is the start time you set for workers. Any early starts before 6am make it difficult to get a full night's rest, as it can be hard to get to sleep before 6 to 9pm at night thanks to our internal body clocks, which are set for alertness during this time.

    If you can spot any risks that might result from fatigued people, you may want to think about the ways in which you can control them. Here are some of the changes you can implement at work.

    Make sure workers are taking regular breaks, as this can help them to recover from fatigue and improve performance, safety, efficiency and vigilance.

    Rather than trading breaks for an early finish time, ensure they are being taken regularly.

    You may also wish to allocate some duties to those who are less fatigued. Driving a digger or being in charge of a cherry picker requires workers to be on high alert, so if you are aware that they are fatigued, it could be best to get someone else to take the controls.

    Workers in this industry do a lot of heavy work, which can increase work-related fatigue and muscle fatigue.

    Be particularly aware of those regularly performing repetitive tasks, and ensure they are given enough chance to rest and recover​. Otherwise, they could be at risk of developing occupational overuse injury (OOS) and muscoskeletal injury.

    Nathan Mills portrait image
    Nathan Mills
    Nathan is a seasoned Kennards Hire team member passionate about empowering DIYers in their projects. He loves everything DIY and brings together years of equipment and project experience to help customers get the right tools for their next job.