Loss Control Insights
Fighting Workplace Fatigue
“We know from experience and research that fatigued workers are less productive and more likely to have accidents,” comments EMC Senior Risk Improvement Engineer Paul Porter. According to a JOEM study, fatigue also costs U.S. employers $136.4 billion per year in health-related lost work time. Porter encourages policyholders to take a comprehensive and proactive approach to curbing the incidence and cost of this workplace epidemic.
Fighting Fatigue With Engineering and Administrative Controls
EMC loss control experts like Porter use the hierarchy of hazard control when dealing with workplace safety issues, including fatigue. “We start with a job hazard analysis to determine the cause of injuries and then implement engineering and/or administrative controls to mitigate future losses,” Porter explains.
Engineering controls for reducing fatigue include:
- Implementing ergonomic changes to reduce unnecessary stress on the body, which could result in fatigue
- Taking steps to increase employee alertness by changing elements of the work environment such as lighting, temperature and noise
Administrative controls for reducing fatigue include:
- Balancing workload and staffing levels to reduce excessive overtime
- Training employees on the prevalence, impact and health risk of sleep disorders
- Providing adequate breaks
- Educating managers to look for signs of fatigue and giving them the authority to take appropriate action to improve alertness among workers
Fatigue Studies Reach the Same Conclusion
The results of two studies published in the JOEM lead to one conclusion—fatigue is a major problem in the U.S. workforce that impacts productivity and costs. Researchers suggest that interventions targeting workers with fatigue can have a positive effect on their quality of life and productivity. Count on EMC® to help assess your workforce and work environment and recommend the needed controls to stave off the effects of fatigue.