Managing Worker Fatigue

We all know that it’s important to keep our equipment in top condition and we have talked about all the different things you need to check. If you decide to put off maintaining your material handling equipment, you know that you risk damage to the equipment itself, your facility, and even your products.

However, there’s one more thing that needs to be maintained constantly to ensure your workplace stays productive: your employees. Keeping the people who operate your machinery in good health is of the utmost importance. In fact, the National Safety Council suggests that approximately 13% of workplace injuries might be attributed to fatigue including some of the largest industrial disasters around the world. Here are some things to consider:

Reducing fatigue at work

Operating machinery for extended periods of time can result in Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD), especially if a person remains in the same position or repeats the same motions repeatedly. You may have heard some of your employees are suffering from common MSDs such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis Elbow, Tendinitis, various muscle strains, and lower back injuries.  By using material handling equipment, you are already reducing the danger of some of these injuries but here are some other ways to reduce it even more:

  1. Provide workers with an opportunity to rotate jobs so they aren’t stuck in repetitive tasks.
  2. Implement a floater or alternate system to provide employees with additional breaks to recover.
  3. Ensure your equipment makes use of padded surfaces and cushioned floors to curtail the effects of engine vibration.
  4. Make sure operators know how to properly adjust settings and controls to more neutral and comfortable positions.

These are just a few options. You can find more at

Reducing fatigue at home

You don’t have control over what your employees do outside of work, but you can recommend they keep good sleep and rest habits. To give them the best opportunity to develop those habits you can make sure that the workplace has in place:

  1. Work schedules that accommodate for rest breaks and sleep.
  2. Ensure the work environment, from lighting to temperature, promote alertness.
  3. Education so employees understand the significance and dangers of worker fatigue.

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When your workers and their workplace are set up to limit their fatigue, you’ll find them more productive while the risk of accidents and lost manhours or personnel drops.