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Preventing Construction Worker Fatigue

Construction work is one of the most dangerous professions in the United States and requires long hours and sustained physical exertion, often in extreme weather conditions. When construction workers suffer from fatigue on the job, their risk for serious and often fatal injuries is dramatically increased. Fatigue leads to poor judgment, lack of focus, dizziness, and muscle weakness.

Causes of Construction Worker Fatigue

Identifying the reasons why a construction worker is fatigued is essential to preventing construction accidents. Some of the most common causes of fatigue in this industry include:

  • Extended work hours

  • Shift work

  • Sustained mental effort and concentration

  • Repetitive physical tasks

  • Physical exertion

  • Working in extreme heat or cold

  • Poor sleep quality or lack of sleep

  • Poor diet

  • Alcohol or drug use

  • Over-the-counter and prescription medications

Any one of these factors can cause a construction worker to feel fatigued on the job, but a combination of these factors can be fatal. Poor diet combined with alcohol or recreational drug use, and a lack of quality sleep can significantly impair a worker.

Shift work and overtime required to meet deadlines in the construction industry can contribute to worker fatigue. Those that choose to pick up an extra shift overnight or extend their day hours suffer the effects of fatigue on their regular shift. Extreme hot and cold temperatures during a work shift can also be hard on the body. In extremely hot weather, dehydration and heat stroke can lead to medical situations while frostbite and hypothermia can result from extremely cold temperatures.

Prevention Techniques

Limiting the factors that contribute to construction worker fatigue can lower the risk of serious and sometimes fatal injuries.

Develop a Fatigue Management Plan: Employers need to properly train construction workers to recognize the signs of fatigue and the dangers associated with it. The plan should include measures to monitor worker fatigue, incorporate frequent breaks in the workday, and supply access to water and climate-controlled areas where workers can ease the stress on their body.

Pay Close Attention to Work Schedules and Shift Work: Work schedules need to be consistent, avoiding frequent changes between various shifts. Workers that are scheduled for day and night shifts simultaneously have a harder time obtaining quality sleep. Overtime should also be limited to avoid fatigue. While some workers may be motivated to take on extra hours to supplement their income, the risks associated with worker fatigue could result in lost wages.

Monitor Worker Absences and Lateness

Patterns of missed work and lateness can be signals that a worker’s personal life is causing fatigue on the job. Late nights, alcohol, and recreational drug use, or family problems can all prevent a worker from getting proper rest. Offering behavioral health services, such as counseling, rehabilitation programs, and family leave can help workers suffering from personal problems be more effective on the job.

Highland Park Construction Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Construction Worker Safety

If you or someone you know has been injured in a construction accident, call the Highland Park construction accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr at 732-537-8570 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Our offices are in Highland Park, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

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