Podcast Title: Health and Safety to Go!

Episode #126:† Fighting Fatigue in the Workplace


Introduction Welcome to Health and Safety to Go, broadcasting from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

Host:Cold, dark mornings, darker afternoons and early evenings characterize the late autumn. You may think that feeling tired or rundown is a symptom of the season, but any number of other factors may be causing the fatigue you are experiencing.

Fatigue is the state of feeling very tired, weary, or sleepy as a result of too little sleep, prolonged mental and physical work, or extended periods of stress or anxiety. Boring or repetitive tasks can intensify feelings of fatigue. Fatigue can impact work performance. Some studies have shown that when workers have slept for less than 5 hours before work or when workers have been awake for more than 16 hours, their chance of making a mistake at work due to fatigue is significantly increased.

Here are some tips workers can use to fight fatigue:

Eating a healthy diet of complex carbohydrates such as green vegetables, beans, and grains; and avoiding fatty foods and junk food, promotes longer-lasting energy.

Adopt a steady exercise routine that includes cardiovascular, muscle strengthening and flexibility workouts, and try to get at least 7.5 Ė 8.5 hours of sleep per night. †Another thing that might help is to aim to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

If you can, avoid driving if you are tired, especially in inclement weather when road conditions are hazardous, and visibility is limited.

And lastly, stay positive! Make a conscious effort not to be overwhelmed by negative circumstances.

Avoid excessive noise as fatigue is increased by high levels of noise.

Employers can also have a role to play in helping their employees fight fatigue.

The first thing employers can do is make sure that the work environment does not promote fatigue. This can be done by trying to avoid dim lighting, toasty warm temperatures, and excessive noise.

Also, consider varying job tasks to eliminate repetition or long periods of boring, monotonous work, and donít forget to incorporate and encourage taking breaks!

Donít underestimate the importance of training! Train workers on the importance of getting enough rest and how to achieve work-life balance.

Lastly, consider introducing shorter shifts, and rotate shifts in the direction of the sun (morning, afternoon, night, in that order).

For more information about fatigue, visit www.ccohs.ca. Thanks for listening everyone.