Construction can be a rough job, which is why contractor safety should always be a primary concern. There are hard deadlines to meet and working conditions can be rough. All too often, when faced with a harsh deadline, workers push extra hours and double shifts to get things done on time. Unfortunately, pushing too hard can lead to fatigue which can result in excess liability for contractors as well as accidents, injury and disaster. Here’s a look at the risks associated with fatigue in the workplace.
Construction and Fatigue
Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs out there. The nature of the work, which involves strenuous and often constant manual labor, can be mentally exhausting. This is ironically compounded by the stress involved with maintaining proper safety procedures and balancing them with the demands of productivity.
Fatigue can affect anyone at any time, but when the work depends on keeping alert and sharp, the need to avoid this condition becomes crucial. In addition, fatigue can create health problems and drastically increases the potential for catastrophic injury as well as reducing productivity.
Foremen and managers should carefully and regularly evaluate the job site for fatigue risks. These include physical and mental job demands, long work hours, too many days on vs. days off, and environmental conditions such as extreme heat, cold or rain. Individual workers’ health and lifestyle also plays a factor.
If these conditions are present, it’s essential for the employer to address the issue. After a disaster happens it’s too late. Take care of your employees. If you see one who shows signs of fatigue, knock them off early or give them a day off. It’s better to lose a day from one employee than to lose days or weeks from an accident on site.
Benefits of Reducing Fatigue
Keep a sharp eye out for signs of fatigue in the workplace and be aware that they can come on suddenly. A worker who seems fine Tuesday may look exhausted on Wednesday. Taking steps to avoid fatigue carries measurable benefits to the work place and overall contractor safety. These include:
- Reduced rate of error, accident and injury
- Increased productivity
- Decreased maintenance costs for equipment
- Reduced human error and equipment damage
- Lessened staff absenteeism
- Reduced turnover
- Decreased contractor’s insurance liability issues
Encourage Healthy Living
A healthy lifestyle and plenty of sleep are the best defenses against fatigue. Employers should always encourage their workers to maintain healthy living and physical fitness to help boost contractor safety. Post educational posters and make literature available. Consider sponsoring fitness activities and offering benefits like gym memberships to your workers. Provide incentives for good eating and encourage employees to get plenty of rest. These simple activities cost far less to an employer than the cost of accidents and injury, and can actually save money on insurance premiums.