Construction Insight: Fatigue - A Job Site Hazard

A construction worker or foreman at a construction site

A recent survey by the National Safety Council found that 69 percent of workers feel fatigued at work, exposing themselves to on-the-job accidents and injuries.

The workers facing the most risk of fatigue-related accidents are those who do shift work, particularly in industries like construction. In fact, 100 percent of construction workers surveyed reported experiencing at least one fatigue risk factor.

The survey also unveiled a disconnect between employers and employees. Ninety percent of employers recognized fatigue as a safety concern, compared to only 72 percent of employees.

Help Workers Fight Fatigue

It is important for employers in safety-critical industries to make sure their workers understand the risks of fatigue. In order to keep workers safe, encourage them to take the following precautions:

  • Take break periods and remember to eat during extended shifts to increase alertness.

  • Perform tasks that require heavy physical labor at the beginning of long shifts when most alert.

  • Limit exposure to dangerous amounts of hazardous chemicals and materials for prolonged periods.

  • Inform their supervisor when fatigue interfaces with the ability to do their job safely.

It is also critical to train supervisors to recognize the symptoms of worker fatigue so they can intervene and assign alternate, safer job duties when applicable.

Construction, SafetyAmanda S