Virtually every employee experiences some level of fatigue on the job from time to time. However, many individuals believe that they can adapt to chronic sleep loss or that a single, extended sleep episode will compensate for it. This is not the case. Excessive fatigue, and the resulting decrease in alertness, can negatively impact an employee's reaction time and lead to reduced vigilance, reduced decision-making ability, poor judgment, distraction during complex tasks, and loss of awareness in critical situations. Excessive fatigue can also hamper an employee's health and reduce his or her productivity at work.
Employers are becoming increasingly aware of, and concerned about, the direct costs and risks of fatigue in the workplace. In response, the Conference Board's Health and Safety Leadership Centre has undertaken a research study which examines some of the strategies and leading practices currently in place in Canadian organizations to manage fatigue in the workplace. The research also put a particular focus on strategies and practices that are in place to manage more complex work situations including, for example, remote work sites, extensive shift work, and safety-sensitive industries.