Extensive research into the causes and symptoms have shown that fatigue can have a detrimental effect on alertness and performance, in the same way that alcohol does. How?
One sleepless night can have similar effects on someone as drinking too much alcohol, and 17 hours awake and active can equate to a BAC reading of 0.05%.
Could it affect your safety performance?
So, what is fatigue?
Simply put, ‘Fatigue is a state of impairment that includes physical and/or mental elements that are associated with lower alertness and reduced performance. It is a significant safety hazards for industry sectors in Australia and overseas and must be managed accordingly.
Fatigue increases the risk of incidents because of the lack of alertness and ability to make decisions – slower reaction to signals and situations means a higher chance of something going wrong.
What can it look like?
Fatigue can take many forms. Studies have shown that the typical signs and symptoms of fatigue can include physical, emotional, mental and behavioral.
Sources of fatigue can include:
Inadequate amounts of sleep over an extended period
Insufficient quality of sleep over an extended period
Mental and physical demands
Work now, sleep later. Right?
A sleep debt is the difference between a person’s required amount of sleep, and the actual amount of sleep obtained.
For example, if a person who requires eight hours of sleep only obtains six hours of sleep, then this person is deprived of two hours of sleep. If this occurs over four consecutive nights, the person will have accumulated an eight-hour sleep debt. Sleep debt leads to increased levels of fatigue, which as we know, can impair your alertness and performance.
Regular sleep habits help to build a good, strong sleep-wake pattern and keeps your management of fatigue in check.
Who has health and safety duties in relation to managing the risks of fatigue?