From truck drivers and equipment operators to office workers and service people, most of us have worked late, put in the overtime, or given up a weekend to meet a deadline.
Once in a while it might not be that big a deal. However, stretching yourself too thin will eventually catch up with you. Being tired can cause all sorts of problems and create risks that may not be obvious, but can have serious consequences.
Add time demands from your personal life (family, money, travel) to the workload pressures and you have a recipe for fatigue.
Fatigue is the state of feeling very tired, weary or sleepy resulting from insufficient sleep, prolonged mental or physical work, or extended periods of stress or anxiety. Boring or repetitive tasks can intensify feelings of fatigue.
Sometimes, a sleep disorder may cause fatigue. You should ask your doctor or health professional for more information. These conditions include:
Research 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 mistakes at work due to fatigue are significantly increased.
Other research has shown that the number of hours awake can be similar to blood alcohol levels. WorkSafeBC reports the following:
Sleep deficit has been linked to large scale events such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the nuclear accident at Chernobyl. Most incidents occur when people are more likely to want sleep – between midnight and 6 am, and between 1-3 pm.
Speaking of Safety blog with links to fatigue resources:
Fatigue Survey of British Columbia Truck Drivers (WorkSafeBC):
Work Schedules and Fatigue (WorkSafeBC):
Health & Safety Executive (HSE) – Briefing note on Fatigue (from the British Government):