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Worker and Drivers Safety - Managing Fatigue


With the silly season upon us and many of us continuing to work, travel and catch up with friends and family it is important for us to remember that driver fatigue is one of the top three contributors to the road death toll. Research has shown that fatigue can be as dangerous as drink driving. But unlike drink driving, there are no laws regulating driver fatigue. Your safety is in your hands.

Thinking about hitting the road? Test how tired you might be before you get behind the wheel at: www.testyourtiredself.com.au

So what is Fatigue?
Fatigue is a feeling of weariness, tiredness, or lack of energy that does not go away when you rest. People may feel fatigued – in body or mind.

With physical fatigue, your muscles cannot do things as easily as they used to. You might notice this when you climb stairs or carry objects. With psychological fatigue, it may be difficult to concentrate for as long as you used to. In severe cases, you might not feel like getting out of bed in the morning and doing your regular daily activities

Mental fatigue can ONLY be reduced with quality sleep!

Why are you so tired?
Typically, fatigue can be traced to one or more of your habits or routines. Fatigue can be a normal and important response to physical exertion, poor eating habits, emotional stress, boredom, or lack of sleep.

In some cases, however, fatigue is a symptom of an underlying medical problem that requires medical treatment.

Health Concerns associated with Fatigue include:
•High blood pressure
•Heart disease
•Digestive Disorders

Causes of Fatigue
The most common cause of fatigue is put down to being tired, mentally or physically, but there are also other factors that can trigger fatigue which include:

•Medical – unrelenting exhaustion may be a sign of underlying conditions, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease or diabetes.
•Lifestyle –such as sleep deprivation, overwork or unhealthy habits e.g. eating the wrong foods at the wrong time
•Emotional concerns and stress – fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Please note: Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Symptoms of Fatigue
•Eyelids drooping or bloodshot
•Blinking increases
•Yawning becomes uncontrolled
•Slurred speech
•Loss of attention
•Making errors
•Reduced ability to problem solve
•Failure to observe warning signs
•Have a higher rate of incidents

The Effects of Fatigue are similar to those of alcohol
•Being awake for 17 hours impairs performance to the same level as having a 0.05 blood alcohol content.
•Being awake for 20 hours impairs performance to the same level as having a 0.1 blood alcohol content

Beat Fatigue:
Most people need 8 - 10 hours sleep a night (not just lying down)

If you miss out on your required level of sleep, you need to make it up quickly.
•Maintain a healthy lifestyle through exercise and healthy diet
•Catch up on sleep debt with an early night
•Limit stress levels if possible
•Form regular sleep and wake patterns
•Understand your sleep pattern and work with it.