When there is a
work accident, companies want to drill down and find the root cause to prevent further
occurrence. Usually contributing factors such as poor supervision, not
following procedures or insufficient training are easy to identify. What
is more challenging, however, is determining the role that fatigue played
in causing the accident.
Because many industries consider fatigue normal in human operations, accident
investigations may ignore or dismiss it as a contributing factor to a
workplace injury. Yet, the
National Sleep Foundation says that losing two hours of sleep causes the same bodily impairment
as a 0.05% blood alcohol level. Fatigue can cause poor judgment such as
carelessly operating heavy equipment or power tools, omitting a process
step or improperly installing fall protection equipment in workplaces
such as the Bakken.
Fatigue management is a strategy that focuses overcoming sleep deprivation, stress and poor
nutrition which contribute to fatigue, carelessness and attention deficit.
In the Bakken, employees often work long hours in remote areas and their
living quarters may a pickup truck or RV. Perhaps, this works for short-term
assignments but for longer periods, workers’ fitness for duty suffers.
Better would be providing housing with suitable sleep quarters, nutritious
appealing food, cafeteria, safe surroundings, recreational options, and
easy-to-access medical care. Improving workers’ living conditions
helps eliminate factors causing fatigue so that Bakken oil and gas workers
perform their jobs safely and effectively.
In the Bakken, each worker experiences fatigue differently and its effects
on mood, drive, performance, awareness, attention, problem solving, creativity,
resilience, learning, retention and health are unique. Please
contact us if your company’s workplace conditions set you up for a work injury
in the Bakken.