In the commercial transportation world, competition for business is fierce and trucks are often running day and night to meet deadlines. An unfortunate consequence of these irregular working hours on trucking company employees, and drivers in particular, is fatigue. According to David Lombardi, a research scientist at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, “Fatigue is an increasing health and safety problem in our daily lives due to the 24-hour society with decreasing emphasis on sleep….” ¹
Effects of fatigue include:
- Slower reaction time
- More errors
- Decreased cognitive ability
- Decreased sleep quality
- Decreased metabolism and cardiovascular health ²,³
For a trucking company, that can be a scary proposition and result in a much greater probability of catastrophic highway accidents, injuries and fatalities.
So, what can be done to help reduce the effects of fatigue?
According to the National Sleep Foundation and NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), shift workers/drivers should:
- Try taking a walk right before the shift starts – ideally in daylight, which can be a stimulant
- Drink beverages with caffeine in them, such as coffee and soda, during the first half of the shift
- Take short breaks during the shift and move around
- Have several consecutive hours of off-duty time each day
- Be educated on the effects of fatigue, how to avoid fatigue, and available resources 4
For more valuable insight on fatigue, please click on the article links below. We at Cline Wood, a Marsh & McLennan Agency, appreciate your dedication to safety!
1,2 Fatigue and Worker Safety. Trotto, S. (2017, February 26). Retrieved June 18, 2019, from https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/15271-fatigue-and-worker-safety
3,4 Shift Worker Health and Safety Druley, K. (2018, December 20). Retrieved June 18, 2019, from https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/17852-shift-worker-health-and-safety