Your employees could be putting your business and themselves at risk by coming in tired. Lack of sleep and fatigue are likely to cause mistakes and misjudgments. In the workplace, that can be extremely costly.
Beyond the emotional and physical cost of serious injuries and death, accidents have financial consequences including insurance rate hikes and possible lawsuits. Companies that proactively focus on fatigue risk management, especially ones with a 24/7 operating schedule, mitigate accidents before they happen, potentially saving lives and large amounts of money.
A Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) can help your company focus more on monitoring and maintaining fatigue safety risks.
What is Fatigue Risk Management?
Fatigue risk management, or fatigue management, involves measures that employees and employers can implement to minimize accidents, injuries, and errors in the workplace, even in operational settings that run continuously throughout the day and night.
Lack of sleep is a serious problem in several industries that use shift work, primarily third shift. Due to our body’s natural systems, staying up at night can be difficult – even when the employee got enough sleep during the day. However, a Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) is a system that ensures employees are alert on the job and offers planning solutions for monitoring and maintaining control over risks. To proactively address exhaustion and fatigue, companies must adopt a comprehensive strategy and demonstrate a firm commitment from top management.
Why is Fatigue Risk Management Important?
Fatigue has been shown to be the cause of 13% of workplace and accidents every year and is also known to be just as harmful as drunk driving. Exhaustion can significantly impair concentration, decision-making, moor skills, memory, balance, and other crucial abilities, making it particularly perilous with life-threating consequences. Fatigue has been the culprit in a number of major, disastrous accidents, including the 2005 BP Texas City oil refinery explosion.
As a result, fatigue and machinery is the perfect recipe for disaster, especially in industries like oil and gas. A solid risk management strategy then can bring several benefits to the organization and its employees including:
- Lower risk of accidents, injuries, hazards or mistakes
- Reduced fatigue in the workplace
- Reduced costs
- Enhanced overall safety awareness and practices
- Enhanced company reputation and credibility
- Increased efficiency
- Improved corporate culture
- Integrating and elevating other safety protocols and procedures
- Promoting trust and confidence among stakeholders
How Can Companies Manage Their Risk?
To better manage fatigue-related issues, companies need to:
- Educate employees on the impact fatigue has on their health and safety in the workplace through training, planning, and education programs.
- Schedule shifts so team members can get enough rest in between work.
- Avoid irregular or rotation shifts.
- Provide 24-hour breaks between 12-hour shifts.
- Review workloads, schedules, understaffing issues, and other scheduling problems that can lead to fatigue.
- Offer additional breaks.
- Consider allowing naps at work.
- Set up designated areas for taking naps during breaks.
- Invest in lighting and temperature systems.
- Consider providing systems that are designed to promote healthy sleep-wake cycles.
- Identify new and existing risks.
- Develop a process for recognizing them that is predictive, proactive, and reactive
- Acknowledge the fatigue risks that are unique to your company and industry.
- Develop a confidential reporting process for incidents of fatigue.
What Industries Benefit From Having a Well-Documented Fatigue Risk Management System?
A comprehensive FRMS offers numerous benefits across various areas, such as efficiency, productivity, health, operations, and safety, among others. While these benefits apply to almost any industry, certain industries stand to gain even more and should prioritize implementing a documented FRMS if they haven’t done so already. This includes:
- Oil and gas
- Industries and companies that operate on a 24/7 schedule
- Industries that require employees to be on call
- Industries that require shift work
How Can Shea Writing and Training Solutions Help With Your FRMS?
Our team specializes in documenting risks, procedures, and solutions for several workplace concerns – including fatigue. If it’s time to get your fatigue risk management strategy and system in writing, Shea Writing and Training Solutions can help. Our services, following five stages, are designed to focus on consistency and quality so you can elevate your company’s safety through documentation.
Want to learn more about how we can aid you with your FMRS? Check out our list of services here.