Managing Fatigue at the Workplace...

Managing Fatigue at the Workplace Fatigue is a physical and/or mental state caused by overexertion. It is an acute, ongoing state of tiredness that leads to mental or physical exhaustion and prevents people from functioning within normal boundaries. It is more than feeling tired and drowsy. It is a physical condition that can occur when a person’s physical or mental limits are reached. Fatigue can be caused by factors which may be work related, non-work related or a combination of both and can accumulate over time. In a work context, fatigue reduces an employee’s ability to perform work safely and effectively. It reduces the employee’s capabilities to an extent that may impair his strength, speed, reaction time, coordination, decision making, or balance. It can occur because of prolonged mental or physical activity, sleep loss and/or disruption of the internal body clock. Fatigue is caused by prolonged periods of physical and/or mental exertion without enough time to rest and recover. It is a catch-all term for a variety of symptoms, ranging from muscle pain to difficulty in concentrating, or sleepiness. It can compromise health and safety at work and is a common outcome of stress and shift-work. Fatigue is defined as ‘the temporary inability, or decrease in ability, or strong disinclination to respond to a situation, because of inadequate recuperation from previous over-activity which can be either mental, or emotional, or physical’. Fatigue can be considered as local or general, acute or chronic. Acute fatigue is the result of sudden and/or severe exposure or onset, while chronic fatigue usually develops after longer exposures, often of a significantly smaller intensity than present in acute fatigue. Chronic fatigue develops slowly. A common symptom of fatigue is an unpleasant, general sensation of weariness. Other outcomes of fatigue include...