Workplace Fatigue

Worker fatigue is a critical factor that employers should take into account when assessing the health and safety hazards of their operations. It is also important for employers to understand that workers can be fatigued from activities outside of the workplace.

Some research studies have shown that when workers have slept for less than 5 hours before work or when workers have been awake for more than 16 hours, their chance of making mistakes at work due to fatigue are significantly increased.

Research has shown that the number of hours awake can be similar to blood alcohol levels. WorkSafeBC reports the following:

Fatigue is regarded as having an impact on work performance. Alberta Labour * reports that most accidents occur when people are more likely to want sleep – between midnight and 6 am, and between 1-3 pm. And, indeed, sleep deficit has been linked to large scale events such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the nuclear accident at Chernobyl.

*From: Alberta Human Resources and Employment. Fatigue, Extended Work Hours, and Safety in the Workplace in Workplace Health and Safety, June 2004.

The key steps, components and practices for development of a Fatigue Risk Management Program are outlined in Enform’s Program Development Guide. Visit Enform’s website for more information and to access the Fatigue Risk Management Program Development Guide.

At the request of PSAC, Enform is currently conducting research that will eventually lead to the development of an oil and gas industry Fit-For-Duty Best Practice. More details will be made available on this web site as they become available.