To work safely you need to be physically and mentally alert. Fatigue can be a risk in workplaces. Both businesses and workers have a responsibility to manage fatigue.

Fatigue is a state of physical and/or mental exhaustion. It can reduce a person’s ability to perform work safely and effectively.

Fatigue reduces alertness. This may lead to errors, and an increase in workplace incidents and injuries.

  • Get enough sleep – everyone’s different, but adults generally need between seven to nine hours sleep a night to be able to function safely during the day.
  • Keep hydrated – if you’re feeling thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water during your workday will help you to stay hydrated. Everyone’s different, but adults should aim for at least two litres a day.
  • Take regular breaks – taking regular breaks can help you avoid feeling worn out at the end of the day. Breaks allow you to eat, stay hydrated and catch up with your workmates, friends or family, which all helps fight fatigue. Stopping for regular breaks throughout the day also makes you more productive and makes it easier to concentrate on the task at hand.
  • Think before accepting overtime – before doing any overtime at work, have a think about how much you are already doing and whether putting extra pressure on yourself may lead to fatigue.
  • Get to and from work safely – a lot of us travel to and from work every day in a vehicle. In 2016 fatigue was a factor in 30 fatal crashes and 199 serious injury crashes. If you’re feeling tired, have a look at other options such as public transport, carpooling or walking to get to work. Let your manager know if you are too tired to drive to work, or to work safely.

Your mouth is one of the best bits of safety gear you’ve got. Speak up if you see something’s not right.

He taonga haumaru tō reo, whakamahia: Your voice is a powerful safety tool, speak up – use it.