Is staff fatigue your biggest health and safety risk?

Anti-Fatigue Matting

Jade Tolley, senior content editor at Safeaid explores fatigue; how it affects us all differently and the serious implications it can on a business.

Earlier this year Andrew Mason, a lorry driver from Hull, was killed in a high impact crash on the A12 when he drove into a stationary HGV. He left behind two children and devastated colleagues.

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Witnesses suggest that he did not apply the brakes – which immediately points towards fatigue as the cause of the incident, as he more than likely fell asleep at the wheel. His daughter Charlotte certainly believed this to be the case. Speaking to the Hull Daily Mail she said: “I think he must have just fallen asleep. I think he must have done.”

While many claimed Mr Mason was an ‘experienced, professional and conscientious driver,’ and using GPS police determined he had taken all his rest stops, the symptoms of fatigue were still in effect and therefore led to the truly tragic turn of events. This is something workers and businesses must learn from, to avoid such incidents occurring in the future.

Fatigue affects us all differently, but the resulting circumstances are very much the same and could have serious implications on a business. Common in shift workers and those carrying out manual labour, fatigue reduces reflex time, disrupts coordination and productivity, causes health issues and can lead to injury and life-threatening accidents in the workplace.

While the UK is considered one of the safest places to work, with the number of workers fatally injured at a 7% lower average for the past five years, it’s important that you ensure fatigue does not creep into your workplace and cause issues.