In the construction industry, 45% of employers reported they have experienced safety incidents as a result of fatigue.
A direct line can be drawn from this statistic to the fact that 46% of construction workers say they typically work at night or early in the morning, which are high-risk hours for feeling tired and/or unalert. Although paving during these hours is often a necessity in our industry, it's important for employers to have a fatigue risk management system in place to combat the inevitable risks that come along with it.
Here are a few things to consider when creating your own system:
Be mindful when scheduling shifts.
Avoid concurrent fatigue risks (i.e. demanding or repetitive work during high-risk hours or while running on little sleep) when possible. When it's unavoidable, be sure to then give employees additional time for recovery. The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends scheduling no more than four consecutive night shifts.
Implement sleep education.
Studies show that when employers make an effort to encourage and educate employees about better sleep habits, positive improvements in sleep duration and quality, as well as a decrease in complaints of sleepiness, tend to occur. This education should also apply to supervisors, who must be able to recognize signs of fatigue among workers and intervene when necessary to make sure safety is kept a top priority.
Communicate with your crew.
Once it's been acknowledged that fatigue is an issue that cannot go unaddressed, it's important to keep employees in the loop regarding all the changes needed to fix the problem. The only way to mitigate the risks that come with fatigue is to make sure everyone does their part — both employers and employees.