Fatigue is a Chronic Issue in the Construction Industry

Chronic fatigue is a serious issue for many people in Pennsylvania. From trying to function at work to driving safely, being overly tired can affect every facet of your life. However, when you are working at a construction site, fatigue-related hazards can be especially dangerous.

Not everyone sees eye-to-eye on this issue. Most construction employers agree that fatigue is a safety risk, while fewer workers feel the same way. This could represent a lack in communication and safety training on the part of the employer.

How common is fatigue?

The National Safety Council conducted a study on fatigue in critical industries, and the results are not great. Of the surveyed construction workers, an astounding 100 percent reported at least one fatigue risk factor in the workplace. However, only 75 percent of workers believed that fatigue was a serious safety issue.

The results of the NSC study are clear — fatigue is everywhere. It also suggested that employers make significant changes in scheduling and on-the-job training to improve both the quality of rest their workers receive and the overall safety of the construction site.

Top causes of fatigue

In the NSC survey, 71 percent of construction employers said that they believed their workers’ poor sleep patterns affected productivity. Is a lack of sleep all that contributes to fatigue? The NSC says no. Other top contributors include:

  • The demands of construction work
  • Long commutes
  • Early-morning or late-night work
  • Work weeks longer than 50 hours
  • Shifts longer than 10 hours

If you are regularly scheduled for long shifts that start in the early morning, go late into the night or extend beyond 50 hours in a single week, you could be fatigued. Even if you work only day shifts for the standard 40 hours per week, the physical demands of the job may put you at an elevated risk for fatigue — and injury.

Your injuries are valid

Construction is a competitive field in which you may feel compelled to work longer, harder and faster. Unfortunately, this can — and often does — lead to injury. Whether through overexertion, a fall, machine malfunction or other issue, these injuries tend to be severe.

If your employer worked you to the point of fatigue and you suffered injuries as a result, taking time to rest and recover may feel counterintuitive. The Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system could provide necessary medical and wage benefits, giving you the peace of mind to focus on your own recovery and well-being.