Many of us struggle with being overtired or overworked. This type of fatigue is often remedied by more sleep. But chronic fatigue is different. It is a constant state of weariness that develops over time and it chips away at your energy and mental capacity.
How do you tell the difference between the two? It’s not easy. But this post shares some signs and triggers that could help you determine if chronic fatigue is a problem in your workplace.
- Physical symptoms. Sore or aching muscles, headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, impaired hand-eye coordination, slow reflexes and responses, and blurred vision. Workers with fatigue also tend to get sick more frequently because their immune system is not functioning properly.
- Mental and emotional symptoms. Difficulty making decisions, irritability or moodiness, depression or anxiety, making errors in judgement, giddiness, forgetfulness, short-term memory loss, and poor concentration.
- Work-related triggers. Long shifts, the timing of shifts (i.e. night shift), insufficient recovery time allowed between shifts, inadequate rest breaks during a shift, boring and repetitive tasks, and physically demanding tasks.
- Triggers unrelated to work. Poor quality of sleep, sleep loss, family needs, taking on multiple jobs, travel time to and from work, and sleep disorders (sleep apnea being the most common).
If your workers are showing signs of fatigue and you don’t do anything about it, their health (fatigue can be a symptom of an underlying health problem) and safety, and the safety of others could be at risk – especially if they perform safety sensitive work. Get your workers tested for a sleep disorder and/or examined by a sleep expert.
There are also fatigue management services that can predict the level of work-related fatigue associated with specific shifts in your workplace. Using the results, rosters can be changed and operations adjusted to mitigate high risk periods in the work schedule.
If you need help addressing fatigue in your workplace or have any questions about the signs or triggers of fatigue, feel free to get in touch!