The link between construction accidents and worker fatigue
Many employers and construction workers often assume that fatigue is not a major factor in construction accidents in Saint Paul and across the country. When workers feel tired and are not alert, their ability to detect safety hazards and risks in their work environments diminishes significantly. In addition to workers not being able to perform their jobs as safely and efficiently as possible, occupational fatigue often leads to other complications. These issues may interfere with social interactions between co-workers, lead to higher levels of stress and contribute to health issues.
As a construction worker, it is extremely important for you to recognize how fatigue can make it harder to recognize hazards around you. To decrease the chances of receiving an injury or dying from a site accident, take some time to consider the following information about construction workers and fatigue-related injuries.
Increased risk for site accidents
The individuals who are at greatest risk for fatigue accidents and injuries are those who work long, irregular shift hours. The more consecutive hours and days contractors work, the less likely they are to go home and get the necessary amount of sleep and rest they need to function normally and remain fully alert. As a result, they may:
- Have slower reaction times
- Exhibit diminished cognitive functions
- Make more critical errors
When you take into consideration the addition of environmental factors, such as weather and temperature, machinery and hazards, and the physical demands of their jobs, workers face an elevated risk of suffering extreme fatigue and death.
How workers can avoid fatigue
Fatigue is more serious than feeling tired. Tired workers can recharge themselves with regular breaks and proper rest. Fatigued workers often need more time, rest and less work to recover from the strain it places on their mental health and energy levels.
Workers can avoid fatigue-related accidents by paying attention to their bodies. They should take all breaks their employers allow. They should avoid overworking themselves and manage a healthy work and life balance. Their employers can also help to reduce the number of fatigue-related accidents that occur by setting realistic goals and deadlines for their workers and projects. Employers should provide regular training on work hazards and fatigue and how to prevent issues that lead to accidents and injuries.