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Fatigue

What is fatigue?
Fatigue is more than feeling tired and drowsy. In a work context, fatigue is a state of mental and/or physical exhaustion which reduces a person’s ability to perform work safely and effectively.
It can occur because of prolonged mental or physical activity, sleep loss and/or disruption of the internal body clock.
Fatigue can be caused by factors which may be work related, non-work related or a
combination of both and can accumulate over time.

Why is fatigue a problem?
Fatigue can adversely affect safety at the workplace. Fatigue reduces alertness which may lead to errors and an increase in incidents and injuries, particularly when:

  • operating fixed or mobile plant, including driving vehicles
  • undertaking critical tasks that require a high level of concentration
  • undertaking night or shift work when a person would ordinarily be sleeping.

The effects of fatigue can be short or long term. The longer term health effects of fatigue can include:

  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • lower fertility
  • anxiety
  • depression

 
We must become proactive in managing fatigue not only in our work lives but in our lives generally. I recommend you all read the following:
 
http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/825/Managing-the-risk-of-fatigue.pdf