Take 5 for Safety is a monthly article designed to give equipment and event rental stores the information they need to conduct a five-minute safety meeting on a particular topic. Below are talking points for this month’s meeting. Click hereto download the Take 5 for Safety signup sheet. This can be used to take attendance during the meeting.
Lack of or poor-quality sleep, long work hours, stress and sleep disorders are just a few reasons a person may suffer from fatigue. In the workplace, driver fatigue is a major safety risk that can lead to injury of the driver and others.
As many as one in five fatal crashes in the general population involve driver fatigue.
After 17 consecutive hours awake, impairment is equivalent to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05. After 24 hours awake, impairment is equivalent to a BAC of .10.
A survey of the U.S. workforce found that 37 percent of workers got less than the recommended minimum of seven hours of sleep.
Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each day.
The causes of driver fatigue:
Being awake for many consecutive hours.
Not getting enough sleep over multiple days.
Time of day: Your body has a sleep/wake cycle that tells you when to be alert and when it’s time to sleep. The urge to sleep is the most intense in the early morning hours.
Monotonous tasks or long periods of inactivity.
Health factors such as sleep disorders or medications that cause drowsiness.
Fatigue can cause drivers to:
React more slowly to changing road conditions, other drivers or pedestrians.
Make poor decisions.
Drift from their lane.
Experience “tunnel vision” — when a driver loses sense of what’s going on in the periphery.
Experience “microsleeps” — brief sleep episodes lasting from a fraction of a second up to 30 seconds.
Forget the last few miles they drove.
How employees can prevent driver fatigue on the job:
Plan off-duty activities to allow enough time for adequate sleep.
Get enough sleep — seven to nine hours each day. If fatigue persists after adequate sleep, get screened for health problems that may be affecting sleep, such as sleep apnea.
Create a sleeping environment that helps you sleep well: a dark, quiet, cool room with no electronics.
If you feel fatigued while driving: pull over, drink a cup of coffee and take a 15-to-30 minute nap before continuing. The effects are only temporary — the only “cure” for fatigue is sleep.
Watch yourself and your peers for fatigue-related symptoms.
Report instances of fatigue in yourself and others to your direct supervisor, who can help to determine the safest course of action.
Speak honestly if questioned about a fatigue-related incident. Fatigue is a normal biological response — it is not a reflection of how well you do your job.