A university researcher will use $300,000 in grant money from the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) to study a system that will help safety professionals to better monitor workplace fatigue. Keep reading for the details.
Studies cited by ASSE show that fatigue is about four times more likely to contribute to workplace impairment than drugs or alcohol. The grant will permit University of Buffalo researcher Lora Cavuoto to study a fatigue measurement system that combines FitBit technology with data analytics to identify the moment when fatigue sets in for each individual worker.
Says Cavuoto, “Our approach will result in one objective number. Once a worker hits his ‘too tired’ number, he will know it and can use one of our proven interventions.”
Tips to combat worker fatigue today
Research suggests that about half of employed Americans are distracted by fatigue at work. Being sleepy causes them to make mistakes and even doze off, which can create serious hazards in safety-sensitive positions.
Lack of energy also negatively impacts your employees’ ability to focus, productivity, and efficiency. It can also lead to serious or life-threatening accidents. Address the following issues to reduce the chance of fatigue-related accidents at your site:
- Staffing. If staffing levels are low, employees may have to work extra hours or shifts, which can lead to fatigue.
- Shiftwork. Designs schedules that permit frequent opportunities for workers to get nighttime sleep to recover from sleep deprivation on the night shift. Train workers to maximize daytime sleep opportunities and use environmental and task engineering that maximizes alertness on the job.
- Employee training. Make sure workers are trained in the prevalence, impact, and health risks of sleep disorders. Consider screening for sleep disorders and establishing a sleep disorder program.
- Work environment. Increase alertness by making changes in light, temperature, noise, exercise and nap options, and food.
- Awareness. Employees and supervisors should be alert to signs of fatigue. Supervisors should encourage rest breaks, shift safety-sensitive activities to workers not showing signs of fatigue, or implement a buddy approach. Some workplaces use a peer observation process to identify signs of fatigue such as yawning, drooping eyelids, lapses in attention, and accidentally doing the wrong thing.