Working Hours and Fatigue: Meeting the Needs of American Workers and Employers

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In November 2022, nan American Journal of Industrial Medicine (AJIM) published a special issue focusing connected work-related fatigue. The rumor explores factors that whitethorn summation work-related fatigue and actions to trim work-related injuries and illnesses. [1]

This rumor is simply a consequence of discussions and collaborations from nan 2019 NIOSH Working Hours, Sleep and Fatigue Forum and besides pulls from reports by nan National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) connected long activity hours and shift work. The issue’s articles springiness penetration into nan challenges of managing fatigue crossed industries and occupation tasks.

The articles place knowledge gaps and needs arsenic good arsenic early directions for fatigue research. Similarities were identified crossed industries to stock lessons learned and successful practices to lessen workplace fatigue. Six articles look astatine approaches successful circumstantial sectors including Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing; Healthcare and Social Assistance; Mining; Oil and Gas Extraction; Public Safety; and Transportation and Utilities. The articles place factors for fatigue consequence and effective responses. Two much articles reside topics that trim crossed each industries, focusing connected workers pinch greater risks for workplace injuries and unwellness and connected evaluating nan economics of nonstandard activity schedules.

What Is Fatigue and Why Should We Worry About It?

Fatigue has nary modular definition, but immoderate person described it arsenic emotion weary aliases tired. [2, 3]). Workers mightiness consciousness that they deficiency nan power to do their occupation safely aliases effectively. They mightiness person problem paying attraction aliases return longer to respond to what happens astir them (4). Fatigued workers mightiness return much risks that lead to wounded aliases errors. [2, 4, 5, 6]) For example, successful healthcare, fatigued emergency room doctors are known to beryllium astatine higher consequence of aesculapian errors (7).  Work-related fatigue costs U.S. employers an estimated $218 cardinal aliases much each twelvemonth because of reduced productivity aliases workers’ absences owed to wellness issues. [8] Researchers estimate that adjacent to 1 successful 8 workplace injuries whitethorn subordinate to fatigue and that much than 1 successful 5 of each fatal conveyance crashes whitethorn impact a drowsy driver. [9, 10] The effects of work-related fatigue tin besides spill over into individual lives and tin effect nationalist safety, for illustration erstwhile fatigued workers thrust connected nationalist roads.

Fatigue Comes From Many Sources

Unlike astir different workplace hazards, work-related fatigue is analyzable and tin stem from galore sources. [11] A person’s age, health, manner choices, and nonwork responsibilities each lend to fatigue. [11] Work-related factors that tin lend to fatigue see scheduling practices, specified arsenic nighttime shifts aliases extended hours, that tin interfere pinch sleep. [11] Physically aliases mentally demanding tasks, repetitive routines, moving successful utmost temperatures, aliases emotion accent tin besides summation fatigue. [12] Because fatigue comes from truthful galore imaginable factors, it tin beryllium difficult to manage. No azygous solution fits each situations, organizations, aliases people.

Finding Ways to Reduce Fatigue

The typical rumor articles reside challenges to managing fatigue successful a wide scope of industries, and they propose actions proven to little risks. Limiting activity hours is simply a accepted measurement to negociate fatigue, but this and different successful strategies use to jobs pinch predictable schedules. Training workers really to get amended slumber has besides been a communal measurement to little fatigue. [13] Most slumber programs do not see nan galore sources of fatigue aliases individual differences for remainder and recovery. This is because of nan quality of immoderate jobs that are astatine precocious consequence for fatigue. For example, workers successful immoderate industries do their jobs successful distant areas pinch shared impermanent surviving areas (such arsenic mining). Other workers must activity for agelong periods doing physically demanding labour (such arsenic inferior activity during large wind events). In these cases, restricting activity hours aliases promoting slumber successful quiet, acheronian environments whitethorn not ever beryllium possible.

Studies of work-related fatigue are astir communal among sectors specified arsenic Transportation and Utilities, Healthcare and Social Assistance, and Public Safety. Most jobs successful these sectors require nonstandard schedules specified arsenic overnight shifts, extended activity hours and irregular shifts. [14, 15, 16] Better activity schedules and acquisition resources are communal priorities, but much actions to negociate fatigue are needed successful these industries.

  • The Transportation and Utilities assemblage is encouraged to see accent and clip pressures. [14]
  • The Healthcare and Social Assistance assemblage is encouraged to beforehand improvements successful workplace civilization and reduced fatigued driving. [15]
  • Workers successful Public Services, specified arsenic firefighting, emergency aesculapian services, corrections, and rule enforcement, often hold a agelong clip betwixt emergency responses. Workers must jump into action quickly erstwhile they person an alarm, which tin hap while they sleep. During emergencies, they tin look aggravated and physically demanding activity and person psychological distress. Current efforts to trim fatigue do not adequately reside these moving conditions. [16]

In industries specified arsenic Oil and Gas Extraction; Mining; and Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, fewer studies place fatigue risks aliases actions to lessen fatigue. [17, 18, 19] Similar occupation tasks (such arsenic driving), aliases activity environments (such arsenic utmost temperatures), are communal successful different industries pinch much acquisition successful managing fatigue. For this reason, industries successful different sectors tin use by sharing their actions and experiences.

Special considerations successful Oil and Gas Extraction see technologies to observe fatigue and fatigue consequence guidance systems. [17] Mining assemblage workers besides person fatigue risks specified as, dim lighting successful underground environments and agelong commutes to distant areas. [18] Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing workers whitethorn request to labour for agelong hours stretching complete respective days aliases weeks during harvest season. Contributions to fatigue from these utmost activity schedules request much research. [19]

Information and Economic Evaluation

All workplaces will use if workers person amended entree to easy-to-understand wellness and information resources and accusation astir fatigue mitigation strategies. Some worker groups that will particularly use from these resources see young aliases caller employees, mini business workers, women, minorities, and group pinch debased levels of acquisition aliases societal and economical status. [20] Based connected this diversity, researchers and information and wellness professionals should see different languages and methods to scope workers to guarantee that resources are culturally appropriate. For example, immoderate workers whitethorn beryllium much comfortable utilizing societal media, while others whitethorn for illustration paper-based sources.

Economic information is an important instrumentality that organizations and policymakers tin usage for deciding really to trim fatigue. [21] Scientific studies should look astatine nan costs of fatigue astatine work, and nan benefits to reducing nan risk. More studies should harvester expertise from different disciplines, including economics and epidemiology (the study of nan frequency, distribution, and power of information and wellness risks). This will springiness a much balanced attack that considers impacts to workers, employers, and society.

Focus connected nan Future

The extremity is that each nan articles from this typical rumor will thief workers and employers find solutions to trim fatigue successful their workplaces and springiness researchers guidance for early studies.  Please stock pinch america successful nan remark conception beneath really your workplace manages fatigue.

Grace Vixama, MPH, is simply a wellness communications master successful nan NIOSH Division of Science Integration, Science Applications Branch.

Imelda Wong, PhD, coordinates nan NIOSH Center for Work and Fatigue Research and is simply a committee personnel of nan Working Time Society of nan International Commission connected Occupational Health.  

Naomi Swanson, PhD, is simply a elder subject advisor successful nan NIOSH Division of Science Integration and is co-manager of nan Healthy Work Design and Well-Being Cross Sector Program.

For much accusation connected fatigue sojourn nan fatigue blog category.


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  2. Lock A [2018]. Psychological and physiological wellness effects of fatigue. Occup Med 68(8): 502–511,
  3. van Dijk F [2003]. Fatigue astatine work. J Occup Environ Med 60:i1–i2,
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  5. Patterson PD, Weaver MD, Frank RC, et  al. [2012]. Association betwixt mediocre sleep, fatigue, and information outcomes successful emergency aesculapian services providers. Prehosp Emerg Care 16:86–97,
  6. Ricci J, Chee E, Lorandeau A, Berger J [2007]. Fatigue successful nan U.S. workforce: prevalence and implications for mislaid productive activity time. J Occup Environ Med, 49(1):1–10,
  7. Uehli K, Mehta AJ, Miedinger D, Hug K, Schindler C, Holsboer-Trachsler E, Leuppi JD, Künzli N [2014]. Sleep problems and activity injuries: a systematic reappraisal and meta-analysis. Sleep Med Rev 18(1):61–73,
  8. Tefft BC [2012]. Prevalence of centrifugal conveyance crashes involving drowsy drivers, United States, 1999–2008. Accid Anal Prev 45:180–186,
  9. Di Milia L, Smolensky M, Giovanni C, Howarth H, Ohayone M, Philip P [2011]. Demographic factors, fatigue, and driving accidents: an introspection of nan published literature. Accid Anal Prev 43(2):516–532,
  10. Techera U, Hallowell M, Stambaugh N, Littlejohn R [2016]. Causes and consequences of occupational fatigue: meta-analysis and systems model. J Occup Environ Med 58(10):961–973,
  11. Dawson D, McCulloch K [2005]. Managing fatigue: it’s astir sleep. Sleep Med Rev 9:365–380,
  12. Sieber W, Chen G, Krueger G, Lincoln J, Menéndez C, O’Connor M [2022]. Research gaps and needs for preventing worker fatigue successful nan proscription and utilities industries. Am J Ind Med 65(11):857–866,
  13. Caruso C, Arbour M, Berger A, Hittle B, Tucker S, Patrician P, et al. [2022]. Research priorities to trim risks from activity hours and fatigue successful nan healthcare and societal assistance sector. Am J Ind Med 65(11):867-877,
  14. Allison P, Tiesman H, Wong I, Bernzweig D, James L, James S, et al. [2022]. Working hours, sleep, and fatigue successful nan nationalist information sector: a scoping reappraisal of nan research. Am J Ind Med 65(11):878–897,
  15. Hagan‐Haynes K, Pratt S, Lerman S, Wong I, Baker A, Flower D, et al. [2022]. U.S. investigation needs related to fatigue, sleep, and moving hours among lipid and state extraction workers. Am J Ind Med 65(11):840–856,
  16. Bauerle TJ, Sammarco J, Dugdale ZJ, Dawson D [2022]. The quality factors of mineworker fatigue: an overview connected prevalence, mitigation, and what’s next. Am J Ind Med 65(11):832–839,
  17. Elliott K, Lincoln J, Flynn M, Levin J, Smidt M, Dzugan J, et al. [2022]. Working hours, sleep, and fatigue successful nan agriculture, forestry, and sportfishing sector: a scoping review. Am J Ind Med 65(11):898–912,
  18. Cunningham TR, Guerin RJ, Ferguson J, Cavallari J [2022]. Work-related fatigue: a hazard for workers experiencing disproportionate occupational risks. Am J Ind Med 65(11): 913–925,
  19. Wong IS, Quay B, Irvin E, Belzer MH[2022]. Describing economical benefits and costs of nonstandard activity hours: a scoping review. Am J Ind Med 65(11): 926–939,
  20. Cunningham TR, Guerin RJ, Ferguson J, Cavallari J [2022]. Work-related fatigue: a hazard for workers experiencing disproportionate occupational risks. Am J Ind Med 65(11): 913–925,
  21. Wong IS, Quay B, Irvin E, Belzer MH[2022]. Describing economical benefits and costs of nonstandard activity hours: a scoping review. Am J Ind Med 65(11): 926–939,

Posted connected April 12, 2023 by Grace Vixama, MPH; Imelda Wong, PhD; and Naomi Swanson, PhD

Source Mining News 2
Mining News 2