Week 3 of NSM – Focus on Fatigue


In today’s world, there are a lot of distractions that keep us from getting rest. Busy schedules fill every minute of the day and cut into our sleep time. Technology, in the form of TV or cellphones, keeps our brains wired and alert when it’s time to settle down. When our lives get busier, sleep is often the first thing to go. The resulting fatigue can have serious impacts on a worker’s health and safety, as well as a company’s bottom line. In fact, a typical employer with 1,000 employees can expect to lose more than $1 million each year to fatigue.

When you miss out on sleep, it can affect more than just your productivity. Fatigue can lead to decreases in cognitive performance, vigilance, accuracy, and judgment, among many other effects. If you aren’t getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each day, you increase the risks you may face in the workplace. In one of our Portacool weekly safety emails, we covered things to look for in your coworkers to help identify fatigue, including the following.

Many factors can keep you from getting the sleep you need, so focus on the issues you can control. To get the recommended hours, the National Safety Council* recommends you remember A.C.E.S.:

Alcohol – While drinking alcohol may make you feel drowsy, it can actually interrupt your circadian rhythm and cause poor-quality sleep. It can also make you more prone to snoring and sleep apnea.

Caffeine – As a stimulant, consuming caffeine can disrupt your sleep patterns. Avoid it for as long as six hours before bedtime.

Environment – Keep your bedroom cool and dark. Consider blackout curtains and turning down the thermostat.

Screens – The blue light from TVs, phones, tablets, and other electronic devices can keep your body from producing melatonin, the hormone that helps you relax and get to sleep. Avoid screens for at least 30 minutes before bed.

Fatigue can affect us more than we know. That’s why it’s important to ensure your employees know what signs to look for and how to reduce fatigue in their own lives. Share these tips with your own workers to keep them safe and keep productivity up.

*Information pulled from National Safety Council’s National Safety Month Materials –