Operator fatigue is a serious safety issue. Operator fatigue isn’t just about falling asleep but also about tiredness, weariness, or exhaustion. Fatigue slows reflexes and affects an operator’s ability to concentrate and respond to conditions and increasing the chances of a crash that could have a significant impact on your company’s costs and productivity.
Here are 5 tips to beat fatigue:
1. Create a culture of open and honest communication about operator fatigue – employees need to feel comfortable reporting their inability to do a job due to fatigue and have no fear of reprisals. Encourage operators to report fatigue – regularly ask for feedback both before and after the job.
2. Plan ahead and consider the driver’s commute time when complying with state or federal specific hours of service (HOS regulations). Teach operators that it’s not good to “push through” and that it’s better to stop and rest. Just 15-minute break can give the brain up to two hours of alertness.
3. Educate drivers on knowing the early signs of fatigue – such as yawning, frequent blinking and drowsiness. Fatigue is more prevalent during the early morning/pre-dawn hours.
4. Educate operators to eat light, fresh foods versus sugary or carbohydrate-filled foods that can make them feel tired and remind operators to avoid medications, including over-the-counter options that may cause drowsiness.
5. Have your operators roll down the window or adjust the temperature in the cab a few degrees lower than normal; this will help them stay frosty and alert. But most important of all, encourage your operators to get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigued or drowsy driving contributes to 100,000 crashes each year, causing 40,000 injuries, and more than 1,000 deaths. Don’t let your operators be involved in one of those crashes.
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