According to a recent study by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s Presidential Task Force, employee fatigue in the workplace should be accounted as a major safety concern and prevented and treated properly. An FRMS or Fatigue Risk Management System can be followed to prevent injury or illnesses, increase work productivity, and maintaining a healthy work environment for all employees.

employee fatigue

A number of results from employee fatigue can occur including slowed reaction time, reduced vigilance, reduced decision-making ability, poor judgment, distraction during complex tasks and loss of awareness.

The key components of an FRMS in an organization should include:

  • A fatigue management policy
  • Fatigue risk management including collecting information on fatigue as hazard, analyzing its risk, and instigating controls to mitigate that risk
  • Fatigue reporting system for employees
  • Fatigue incident investigation
  • Fatigue management training and education for employees, management and even families
  • Sleep disorder management
  • A process or the internal and external auditing of the FRMS that delivers corrective actions through a continuous improvement process

According to the same research, one of the biggest reasons for employee fatigue is an increased amount of time at work and tight staffing levels. Instances such as changes in increased workloads, unexpected overtime, or low staffing levels can largely contribute to the problem.

A staffing level can determine:

  • Average amount of overtime per employee;
  • Average time off between shifts;
  • Average time off between consecutive blocks of shifts;
  • Average length of shifts;
  • Average work hours per week;
  • Average number of consecutive days worked;
  • Discrepancy between the published shift schedule and the actual shift schedule worked.
“As a result, the amount of overtime worked by employees is increased, and the additional hours and days worked make the published shift schedule a work of fiction,” claim the members of the task force.

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