Workplace fatigue is when a worker is feeling tired, exhausted, or weary due to stress, anxiety and a lack of quality sleep. Workplace injuries increase when workers’ reaction time and awareness are decreased from being fatigued.
When circumstances arise that disrupt our daily lives and normal routines, like the coronavirus pandemic, an individual may recognize that they are feeling unusually tired during a particularly stressful time.
Taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health during a difficult time will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and those you care about.
While there is not a single solution to fit everyone’s needs, here are some general strategies that workers can use to manage workplace fatigue so they can continue to work safely.
Work-related factors that can increase workplace fatigue:
Signs and symptoms of workplace fatigue:
Know what to do if you feel too tired to work safely:
Use a buddy system while you’re at work. Check in with each other to ensure everyone is coping with work hours and demands.
Report any fatigue-related events or close-calls to a manager to help prevent injuries and errors.
Do not work if your fatigue threatens the safety of yourself or others. At any time, if stressful feelings result in symptoms like fatigue or difficulty concentrating that interfere in your ability to do your job safely, make sure you talk to management so you can work together to come up with solutions that will maintain a safe working environment.
Recognize that these are stressful and unusual circumstances and you may need more sleep or time to recover. Lack of quality sleep can significantly contribute to workplace fatigue. Tips to improve sleep include:
By building resilience, managing job stress, and developing a consistent daily routine with good sleep habits, workers can reduce the risks associated with workplace fatigue.
Communicate with your co-workers, supervisors, and employees about job stress. Identify things that cause stress and workplace fatigue and work together to identify solutions.
Protect your mental health. Spend time outdoors, either being physically active or relaxing. Do things you enjoy during non-work hours.
Connect with others. Talk to people you trust about your concerns, how you are feeling, and how current events are affecting you.
Take breaks from work to stretch, exercise or check-in with supportive co-workers, family or friends.
Stay informed. Know the facts, understand the risks, and share accurate information, but avoid over-exposure to news. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about any crisis repeatedly, like the pandemic, can be upsetting and mentally exhausting.
Seek help when needed. If you feel you may be misusing alcohol, illicit or prescription drugs as a means of coping with workplace fatigue, reach out for help.
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