Fatigue Management for Construction Workers

Source : Peat Bakke

Construction workers, like other industry workers are prone to fatigue however the consequences for construction workers may be greater than it would be for others. Construction work involves a lot of hazardous work and dangerous equipment which if operated while fatigued can result in serious injury or even death. For this reason fatigue management is necessary to ensure worker safety.

Fatigue is defined as an acute and on-going state of tiredness leading to mental or physical exhaustion. This exhaustion hampers the normal functioning of people and inhibits them from performing at their optimal level.

Fatigue may be work-related, lifestyle-related or a combination of both and may include factors like working hours,  scheduling and planning, inadequate rest breaks, lengthy periods of time being awake, insufficient recovery time between shifts, payment incentives that may lead to working longer shifts, environmental conditions, work demands etc.

Some of the major impacts on a workers fatigue levels are inadequate sleep, family responsibilities, health, nutrition and illness.

But how can fatigue be treated or managed? The only effective treatment is sleep. According to researchers the brain requires sleep in order to recover and rejuvenate, without this rest you will suffer mental and physical fatigue. The most beneficial sleep is a good night’s sleep taken in one continuous period preferably between 7 to 8 hours daily. Good nutrition and exercise also plays a role in overall health which affects fatigue management.