This fatigue management toolbox talk:
This fatigue management toolbox talk can be used to communicate clear guidelines and management principles to minimise fatigue-related risks in the workplace.
Assessing the risks of fatigue can be difficult because people respond differently to situations that may contribute to fatigue. However, generally, fatigue is due to normal body rhythms that regulate sleep being disrupted or because there is inadequate time for rest and recovery.
If it has been determined that a worker is fatigued, the person should not be permitted to commence or continue with ‘at risk’ work and arrangements should be made for recovery.
The guidelines described in this toolbox talk can be used as a measure to consider whether reasonably practicable steps have been taken to ensure the safety of personnel is balanced against the need for a work task to be completed.
A work environment in which personnel will not feel threatened or subjected to criticism by disclosing their fatigue will facilitate the objectives of the toolbox talk.
Fatigue can be described as a state of mental and/or physical exhaustion that reduces a person’s ability to perform their work safely and effectively. It is a weariness that is primarily caused by prolonged wakefulness or insufficient and/or disturbed sleep.
Fatigue can be both physical and mental and both relate to the inability to continue functioning at the level of normal abilities. It’s not the same as simply feeling drowsy or sleepy.
When you’re fatigued, you have little to no motivation and no energy. You may feel like you can’t get going and don’t have the strength to continue.” Most people feel fatigued from time to time but, if fatigue is a frequent or ongoing problem, it can affect your quality of life. Fatigue can be a symptom of many different conditions, including anaemia, arthritis, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, fibromyalgia, heart disease, hepatitis C, infectious diseases, and sleep disorders.
If working long hours, working nights, unscheduled shifts, a sleep deficit can build up over a period affecting the ability to work safely. Therefore, people working long hours or irregular shifts are generally more tired than people working during the day and regular shifts. Causes and signs of fatigue may include:
With fatigue, you are the most important safeguard in protecting yourself and others while at work.
It is recommended to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night. If your work schedule is too demanding, or the hours you are working are making you feel fatigued every single day, talk with a supervisor. Sometimes responsibilities or schedules can be altered to improve productivity and safety in the workplace.
Addressing other health issues can greatly improve how you feel both at home and at work.
Food to people is like fuel to a car– if you put dirty fuel in your car, it will not run well. The same goes for your body!
Reduce fatigue by engaging in regular, low-intensity exercise.
If performing less intense work tasks for short periods, frequently get up and stretch.
Talk with your doctor to make sure he/she understands your work responsibilities to ensure any medication will not interfere with your performance.
If there are stressful things in your life, seek assistance from family and friends and talk to a support group.