What is fatigue and why it is important to train employees on how to manage it?
The issue of fatigue management needs to be addressed, like any other hazard. We all experience tiredness at times, but when the feeling of tiredness is overwhelming and not relieved by sleep and rest, what we are experiencing is fatigue. Fatigue can be caused by a number of health conditions, but it can also be due to long working hours and irregular shift patterns that lead to disruption of the internal body clock and sleeping difficulties. Addressing the issue of fatigue management is not always easy, especially when it comes to the workplace.
The potential dangers of fatigue
Fatigue can affect workers and make them less alert, cause longer reaction times, make it hard for them to concentrate and as a result, they may make poor decisions. This can lead to accidents and injuries. Fatigue has been implicated in 20% of accidents on major roads and is said to cost the UK £115 - £240 million per year in terms of work accidents alone.
In the absence of a fatigue management plan, poorly designed shift-work arrangements and excessive working time that do not balance the demands of work with time for rest and recovery can ultimately lead to accidents, injuries and ill health.
The legal duty is on employers
The legal duty is on employers to manage risks from fatigue, irrespective of any individual’s willingness to work extra hours or preference for certain shift patterns for social reasons.
In 2006, a Cambridgeshire company was sentenced to a £30,000 penalty (plus a £24,000 in legal costs) after one of its employees fell asleep while driving home and swerved into the path of a truck.
Being compliant with the Working Time Regulations alone is not sufficient to address the issue of fatigue management. Advice on fatigue-related issues needs to be specific to an organisation and tailored to its workers. It is critical that both managers and employees can recognise the causes and signs of fatigue and know how to prevent it from becoming a hazard.
Utilising training to address Fatigue Management
We’ve created a Fatigue Management Online Training Course, designed to help users recognise the signs and symptoms of fatigue, understand the sleep cycle, as well as the importance of fatigue management. The Fatigue Management eLearning Training Course is a useful tool to instruct employees on how to prevent fatigue and exhaustion and is an essential tool to face today’s fast-paced world. It is a fully online interactive course and assessment, accessible on any device, 24/7, with no time limits through our modern LMS.