The Exxon Valdez, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island disasters all have one thing in common. Fatigue. Employee fatigue has been found to play a role in each of these tragic accidents.
Fatigue not only reduces a worker’s efficiency, it also reduces a person's ability to work safely. As a result, fatigue increases the risk of injuries and on the job accidents. Employers must ensure that workers are not experiencing the effects of fatigue on the job and ensure shifts that allow for proper rest.
Since fatigue can negatively affect safety at the workplace, employers need to include fatigue as a potential workplace hazard when crafting their safety policies and procedures.
Employers should account for demanding hours and workplace fatigue
"With Americans working longer hours, including demanding overnight shifts, I fully expect that the epidemic of employee fatigue will continue to cause significant problems," notes Moore-Ede. Dr. Martin Moore-Ede, president and CEO of Circadian Technologies Inc. (CTI), an international research and consulting firm that implements corporate programs to reduce risk from human factors in the workplace.
According to CTI’s annual Shiftwork Practices Survey, more than 45 percent of companies with around-the-clock operations view the business risks associated with fatigue as moderate to severe. CTI’s most recent survey finds that operations managers believe employee fatigue to be the cause of at least 18 percent of all injuries or accidents occurring at their facilities. As a result, employers with around-the-clock operations should have safety policies and procedures addressing fatigued workers.
Additionally, workplace fatigue is a major factor in the stress levels of many employees. For example, nearly 75 percent of American nurses claiming that stress and overwork are the top concerns they face in their jobs.
If you have been injured in a workplace incident that you believe was caused by worker fatigue, Chelsie King Garza can help.