Fatigue is more than just a feeling of tiredness experienced during parts of the day. Serious sleep-related fatigue has created major problems for employers everywhere, a result of employees not receiving adequate restorative sleep in their time away from work. Unfortunately for workers, common remedies like caffeine and energy drinks cannot overcome the lack of restorative sleep—only true rest can alleviate fatigue and return a worker to their optimal state of alertness. Drowsiness can be temporary, but fatigue builds over time, causing more and more drowsy episodes that decrease alertness during a shift and can potentially lead to accidents and injuries, not to mention decreased overall productivity.
In part 2 of the DORN Fatigue blog series, Mike Harnett (President at Solaris Fatigue Management) explores the biological factors that define how fatigue accumulates among workers who don’t receive adequate sleep. She delves into the homeostasis sleep drive, which shapes how we experience tiredness as we go through our daily responsibilities, and the circadian cycle, the light/dark patterns that shape human sleep patterns. These factors contribute to significant reductions in worker capabilities as fatigue accumulates; symptoms like loss of situational awareness, slower work pace, under-estimation of risk, flawed logic, and several others can create significant hazards for workers, potentially leading to injuries and diminishing worker productivity with the costs going straight to the employer.
Mike Harnett brings a wealth of practical and research experience in the fatigue field, and has worked across international borders to deliver solutions to the fatigue problem to enterprises looking to reduce costs from fatigue-related injuries.
Check back next month for part 3 of the DORN Fatigue video blog series, featuring new fatigue research from Dr. Lora Cavuoto (Associate Professor, University at Buffalo).
Missed Part 1 of our Fatigue Series ? Click here.