Managing fatigue is not just an issue for people on the road or when there are hazards around. Even a walk across the warehouse subject can be to fatigue that can result in an incident.
The first issue is that fatigue is difficult to recognise quickly.
The second issue is that even when we recognise it, we often do very little to compensate for it. This is even though we consciously know that it increases risk.
Fatigue shuts down our ability to recognise when we are fatigued.
Because it is difficult to recognise fatigue during the early stages, people delay doing something about it until they really start to feel it. Of course, the more we delay action the more fatigue sets in. This increases how difficult doing something about it becomes. This is not easy to reverse, especially if you’ve driven in this state plenty of times before and nothing harmful has ever happened.
Imagine what would happen if every time you drove fatigued you ended up having a head on. How many of these would you need to change what you do? That’s right, not many.
Here’s three ways you can help your workers recognise the dangers:
Help them appreciate that fatigue can be a major risk in anything they do, especially driving.
Discuss the effects of fatigue openly in safety meetings.
Conduct training that provides workers with the skills required to recognise fatigue early and do something meaningful about it.
Better planning can avoid or minimise fatigue. But life doesn’t always follow the plan, even if one exists.