Construction Worker Fatigue
Fighting and Preventing Construction Worker Fatigue
Worker fatigue on a construction site can not only slow down production and lead to silly mistakes, but in this industry, it can be fatal. Construction sites are full of hazards already, so the risk of accidents and injuries is largely increased when fatigue is added into mix.
Fatigue can be mental or physical or even both, and can be caused by a great number of factors including extended hours, increased workload, personal issues or illness. So making sure you know what’s happening with your workers on site and even in their home lives is crucial.
What’s the Difference Between Fatigue & Tiredness?
Fatigue is often assumed to be as simple as tiredness from mental or physical exertion or illness. Tiredness is often caused by simply not getting enough sleep or a poor diet. But often there’s much more underlying that can cause the symptom on fatigue.
If someone is tired they can usually get back on track with a nap or a few good night’s sleep. However the resolution for fatigue can be a little more complicated. If someone is getting enough sleep and eating well but still suffering from a constant tiredness they’ll need to investigate why they have fatigue.
What Causes Fatigue?
There are a number of causes for fatigue and each can affect a person differently.
Illnesses can cause fatigue – anything from the onset of a flu to something more serious such as heart issues or diabetes can be a cause for fatigue.
Living a sedentary lifestyle can be a key factor in developing fatigue as the body isn’t getting the chemicals it needs through exercise. But this isn’t something that your construction workers are likely to suffer from – but food and beverage choices are just as important. Eating a diet of junk foods, high alcohol intake or lack of water can all lead to fatigue as your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to function to it’s best ability.
An overly stressful work atmosphere can lead to mental exhaustion. If a job is getting rained out but deadlines aren’t pushed back, if workers are too many taking sick days or are under-skilled or if there is a lack of understand on the project, your workers can become highly stressed. This constant stress can lead to fatigue.
If someone is having a stressful time at home, in the family or experiencing mental health issues such as depression, fatigue is a common symptom. Having these stresses without getting the proper attention can build up and grow to more pressing issues.
While the above can all be very personal to someone, as an employer there is still a duty of care that you’re doing all you can to keep your workplace as healthy as possible.
Preventing Construction Worker Fatigue
There are a few things that you can do on site to help ease any fatigue or mental health issues your workers may be suffering from.
As an employer, you need to be aware of the workloads and expectations on your staff. An unrealistic set of expectations including schedules and long hours can lead to extreme stress or even other health issues.
To ensure that your workers are coping, monitor their hours, overtime taken and encourage necessary and legal breaks and rest periods. It’s also crucial to be open to and encourage feedback about their workloads. Checking in with your team individually will also help those who don’t want to speak out to understand that their feedback and health is important.
Create a Positive Culture
A work culture where everyone feels safe and supported by an employer and the rest of the team is key to getting that feedback you need to make sure everyone is well.
Additionally, working in an environment where everyone gets along, has a bit of fun and all work together as a team to reach goals and deadlines can do wonders for your workers’ health. Stress from the actual work combined with stress from dealing with the team can be detrimental not only to your team, but to the business itself.
You can’t make everything be friends all the time, but you can make sure that everyone is working positively together to reach their goals.
Develop a Wellness Program
A company-wide wellness program can go a long way in helping your team to combat health issues such as fatigue. A wellness program helps your team to make healthy choices that are strongly supported by their workplace.
A wellness program can help your employees with anything they might need including quitting smoking, eating better, exercising more or taking the time to care for their mental health. Your program can be as simple as helping your workers set goals and offer community support, right up to providing gym memberships or offering healthy snacks.
Healthier employees will have more energy, will be more focused and are far less likely to suffer from fatigue.
Remember that your employees are your number one asset. Creating a positive culture of support will not only mean your healthy workers will be better for your business, but they’ll also have a reason to stay with you and become strong, productive and loyal employees. So you’ll be able to benefit from their hardwork for even longer.