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Safety Tips | Wellness

Prevent fatigue among shift workers

October 1, 2011

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Adequate sleep is important for an individual’s health and well-being. Most experts recommend getting between seven and nine hours of sleep every day, which can be difficult to achieve, especially for people who work during nighttime hours or on a rotating shift schedule.

According to the National Safety Council, approximately 15.5 million shift workers face the unique challenges that come with working unconventional hours. Not only can inadequate sleep result in health problems for the individual, such as high blood pressure and obesity, but fatigue also can create safety risks on the job.

However, steps can be taken to help achieve an adequate amount of sleep and protect the health and safety of workers:

  • Follow a consistent sleep schedule, even on off days and weekends, so your body can become accustomed to your required sleep patterns.
  • Create a healthy sleep environment, which includes a good mattress, a quiet room with dark blinds and earplugs.
  • Make sure friends and family know your hours so you are not interrupted during the time you need to sleep.
  • Develop a routine to help you unwind and to signal your body that it is time to sleep, such as a warm shower or bath before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bed.
  • While at work, do not schedule boring or mundane tasks for times when you are likely to be most tired.
  • Talk with co-workers about their sleep strategies and challenges to come up with additional ideas that may work for you.
  • Whenever possible, try to carpool or take public transportation to work to avoid the risk of driving fatigued.

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