This weeks toolbox talk – fatigue construction workers explains the impact that tired workers can have on a construction site. Fatigue occurs when we’re low on energy. In more scientific terms, fatigue is physical or mental exhaustion as a result of exertion. Fatigue can be physical or mental and often occurs as some combination of the two.

Factors that could contribute to fatigue construction workers:

  • Extended hours, night work and increased work load.
  • Physically demanding and repetitive work
  • Work that requires a high level of concentration.
  • Environmental conditions, such as working in extreme heat or cold temperatures.

Fatigued workers aren’t as alert, meaning their response and reaction time to what’s going on around them is hindered. This can lead to a worker making careless, and often costly, mistakes. Extremely fatigued workers may nod off or fall asleep on the job. In addition to decreased productivity and increased risks for accidents and injuries, workers suffering from fatigue are often irritable and lack the motivation to properly perform their job duties.

Employers Duty:

  • Develop a fatigue management plan to help reduce the risk.
  • Ensure workers aware of the dangers of working while fatigued. 
  • Don’t overload workers with too much or put unrealistic expectations for the completion of tasks.
  • Monitor workers for signs of fatigue.
  • Ensure that workers are taking adequate breaks throughout the day.
  • Make sure workers are drinking plenty of fluids, especially on hot days, as dehydration can contribute to worker fatigue.

Employees Duty:

  • Get a full night’s sleep, typically between seven and nine hours.
  • Exercise boosts energy levels and reduce the likelihood of feeling fatigued at work.
  • Eat a healthy diet and cutting back on junk food and fast food also helps fight fatigue.

Working Hours:

The maximum normal working time allowed is 45 hours weekly. This is 9 hours per day (excluding lunch break) if the employee works a five-day week, and 8 hours per day (excluding lunch break) if the employee works more than 5 days per week.

Lunch breaks is the employee’s own time – because they are not paid for lunch breaks.

five-day week and who receives a lunch break of one hour daily will actually be at the workplace for 50 hours weekly (45 hours normal working time plus five hours daily lunch breaks.)

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