Managing Fatigue at The Worksite


Managing Fatigue at The Worksite

Fatigue is the condition of being physically or mentally tired or exhausted. Extreme fatigue can lead to uncontrolled and involuntary shutdown of the brain.

Here are some things to look for in your coworkers to help identify fatigue. Everyone needs your help, because in most cases, people who are under significant fatigue can’t identify it themselves. These include:

• Their job performance slows.
• Their job quality is reduced.
• They can’t recall their last thought, conversation, or what they did a moment ago.
• They have trouble solving problems.
• They make errors.
• They have a near-miss accident.
• They have trouble focusing.
• Their head droops.
• They can’t stop yawning.

When you’re fatigued you will make errors in judgment. Your mind or eyes can be off task and you can make a critical error.

So, I’m asking you, how did you sleep last night? Did you get enough sleep? How do you know? It is very important to be aware of yourself. Getting plenty of sleep is a very important part of your personal safety.

Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep each 24-hour day. Sleep loss built up slowly over several nights can be as harmful as sleep loss in one night. Both produce a decline in performance such as slower reaction times, failure to respond to changes, and the inability to concentrate and make reasonable judgment calls.

Fatigued persons tested from continuous hours of wakefulness against blood alcohol levels concluded that 17 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.05. Twenty-one hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.08 and 24-25 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0 .10.

Are you getting enough sleep?

It is important that you do for your own safety and the safety of your co-workers, including the contract crew you are working with. When you see the signs of fatigue in a co-worker, get their attention or the attention of a supervisor or co-worker to the situation to ensure they can work safely. If you do not take a proactive step you may be the one to be negatively impacted when an accident occurs. Be a courageous safety leader and speak up for safety.

We are certainly at a disadvantage, working long hours in the heat on a dusty ROW, however there are things we can do to counter the impact.

• Get plenty of sleep. Sometimes it is just too easy to stay up after work when you should be getting rest.
• Develop a schedule for sleep and stick to it.
• Ensure your sleep environment is conducive to sleeping – dark, cool and quiet.
• Use a relaxing, non-stressful ritual prior to sleeping like reading, chilling out watching television or listening to music. However, stay away from platforms and programs that will catch your attention and get you involved and “thinking” about the program (talk radio, suspense movies, thrillers, etc).
• Get plenty of exercise throughout your day.
• Watch what you eat towards the end of your day and prior to going to sleep. Also, watch your liquid intake.
• Always watch your caffeine intake (this includes Iced Tea).
• Avoid naps at all costs.

Sleep experts all agree that a regular eight hours of sleep is good for you, but the results of a recent study suggest that the groggy feeling most of us wake up to, even after a good night’s sleep, is harder shake off than we might like to think. “Sleep inertia,” the period immediately after waking, finds most of us in a state of impairment comparable to drunkenness.

Most of us have a morning routine that allows us ten minutes or longer to ease our way into wakefulness, but even when we have very little time to rouse ourselves from sleep, we should take as much time as we can and remember that our judgement is suspect in those first few minutes of wakefulness.

Remember the only substitute for sleep is sleep. Short-term measures may help you stay alert for a while, but eventually you will need to sleep.

Near Misses Reported in July

I've called a safety stop while exposing an existing gas line. The line was embedded in rock and a jack hammer was used for excavation. The employee using the jack hammer was not properly trained and seemed very uncoordinated and uncomfortable. 
I demanded a work stoppage and the contractor reassigned ongoing excavation roles.

While painting some overhead fabrication, the painter was trying to use paint buckets to stand on so he could reach to top of the fabrication. I stopped the crew.
I explained how this was not a good idea, nor was it a safe idea. We had a short meeting and the crew agreed to bring a step ladder tomorrow to continue the task.

A tear was found in rigging, which was already connected to a pipe for a lowering in. I stopped work and found the tear. 
The belt was replaced. We showed the laborers how to inspect rigging.

A contractor was observed working off of cable tray and another employee was working outside of an aerial lift basket while still tied off to the basket.
We stopped the crew to have a discussion on the proper working surfaces and the correct tie off methods when working outside of the basket.

A sub-contractor for the hydro vacuuming of the excavation encountered a mechanical issue. A hose with aluminum attachments detached from the boom causing it to fall into the excavation and hit a shoring jack. No one was injured nor was any damaged caused. Operation was stopped immediately, and the object was retrieved from excavation safely. 
After the investigation was completed, it was determined the sub-contractor is to stop the task and spray water into vacuum components to loosen/remove the buildup of material (mud or cake) inside hose & components. This alleviates the weight issue which allowed the attachments to detach and the potential of this happening again.

A track hoe operator on a tie in crew was sitting still with his bucket in the air and one of the operations techs walked up and stood under the track hoe bucket. A clod of mud fell off of the bucket and struck him in the hard hat. 
To keep this from happening again, the contractor talked to the operators about keeping their buckets on the ground while they’re not digging and that employees should not to stand under a suspended track hoe bucket.

We are pleased to announce that we have partnered up with Boot Barn to offer all Applied Consultants inspectors a 15% discount on all purchases “work related” from the Boot Barn, Nation Wide. Be sure to tell them you work for Applied Consultants and use the key word: “Safety First” to receive the discount.

July Winners

John Leon - Bronze
Steven Marcus Payne - Bronze
Randy Watson - Bronze
Jason Beckner - Platinum
Jolynne Sedach - Silver



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