Feb 27, 2019
Fatigue is commonly used to describe a range of conditions, but is typically known as feeling tired, exhausted or sleepy due to sleep deficiency, overwork or prolonged periods of stress. Mundane or repetitive tasks can feed into feelings of fatigue.
With safety being especially important in warehouses and other workplaces that involve heavy machinery and power tools, the capability to think clearly and practice good workplace safety is crucial. Having an alert staff is also important to maintaining a high level of productivity and reducing errors.
Being aware of the effects of fatigue on staff members, and ultimately the workplace, is the first step in dealing with the issue of workplace fatigue. A recent survey by the National Safety Council on causes of fatigue in American employees reported more than 43 percent of respondents said they do not get sufficient sleep to work safely. The survey also revealed that more than 81 percent of respondents work jobs that are physically or mentally challenging, like operating heavy machinery.
The survey also looked at the effects of fatigue on business. More than 75 percent of workers said they feel tired at work, 53 percent said they feel less effective, 44 percent reported having difficulty focusing, more than 39 percent of respondents said they have difficulty remembering when fatigued and 13 percent attributed workplace injuries to fatigue.
Employers aren’t helpless when it comes to addressing fatigue. A few common-sense policies can go a long way to keeping your warehouse staff alert.
Although overtime might be a necessity and some workers jump at the opportunity to earn more pay, it significantly saps worker energy. One way employers can tackle worker fatigue is making certain every single worker gets two days off per week. This policy allows ample time to refresh and connect with loved ones.
Employers can also use flexible scheduling to develop a more supportive workplace and reduce the odds of worker burn out. When possible, allow for early bird staff members to clock in earlier, and if staff members need extra time on some mornings, allow them to push back their start time. Even 15 minutes can change what would have been a stressful morning into a good day.
Teamwork is another basic approach to reduce worker fatigue, while also supporting productivity. Ensure that all jobs and tasks have a back-up person who is able to handle them. Regardless of whether it’s a front-line worker or a manager, having a second person to depend on when workload rises, you can reduce fatigue.
The added benefit of these measures is they help with recruitment and retention. Top talent is more likely to consider your company and stay with it if you have a supportive and understanding company culture.