Studies show that up to 80% of workers suffer from fatigue, physical discomfort and pain on a daily basis.
It is estimated that 13% of workplace injuries can be attributed to fatigue, and 43% of Americans admit they may be too tired to function safely at work – 43%! It is important to recognize the symptoms of fatigue and its potential impact on each employee’s health and safety, as well as the safety of coworkers.
Fatigue is commonly described as extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness. Fatigue can be caused by factors outside of the workplace, as well as within it.
Whether fatigue is caused by a medical condition, lack of sleep, shift patterns or personal circumstances, fatigue is a health and safety risk that is often overlooked. To be competitive and maintain profitable bottom-lines, fatigue must be controlled by employers. Regulations require employers to assess the risks which arise from their operations and workplace, to ensure exposure to fatigue is reduced as much as is reasonably practicable.
What Causes Fatigue?
There are many potential causes of fatigue. Generally speaking they can be divided into these general categories:
Lack of sleep (<8 hours), or too much sleep (>10 hours)
Injury or illness
Physical exertion (weekend warriors)
Lack of physical activity (exercise)
Being overweight or obese
Periods of emotional stress
Taking certain medications, such as antidepressants or sedatives, such as: Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Xanax, Limbitrol, Valium, Ativan, Halcion, Lunesta, Sonata and Celexa