January 2016 - Sleep and Fatigue Impairment

Gary was the only mechanic and the loader was down. He had been up sick with the flu all night but if he didn’t get out there, the whole operation would grind to a halt. As he got himself ready to head out for work, he noticed that he was forgetting simple things and just couldn’t clear the fog from his brain. However, he knew enough that he shouldn’t be driving out to the block so he called his supervisor to see if they could come up with an alternate plan. “You’re timing is terrible but we’ll work around it” said his supervisor. “We’ll get the mobile mechanic from the dealer to come out here. That’s better than you trying to drive out and falling asleep at the wheel. I’m glad you called to let me know.”

Logging and forestry work can mean working long hours. Working hard and getting the job done is an important part of the industry’s culture. However, sometimes this can go too far and people work while being impaired by fatigue. Follow these tips from the Transportation Safety Board to get better sleep and reduce the risk of fatigue impairment while at work.

Fatigue Controls at Work

Take a Nap

Smart Use of Caffeine

Drugs and Alcohol

Eating Right

Physical Exercise

Additional resources on sleep and managing fatigue:

  1. Transportation Safety Board - https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/standards/sms-frms-menu-634.htm
  2. Sleep and Fatigue Articles - http://sleepanddreams.com/?page_id=2390
  3. Fatigue at Work Infographic - http://www.safetydriven.ca/2015/12/04/what-is-fatigue/
  4. Guide to Safe Work – Fatigue Management Infoflip - /files/files/newsroom/trucksafe-06-08-01-fatigue.pdf
  5. Print version of this Alert for posting and safety meetings - /files/AOM_January_2016.pdf

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