Although it is hard to objectively measure and quantify the symptoms of fatigue in humans, research shows that fatigue can seriously impact worker safety and lead to increases in workplace accidents. A worker who is experiencing fatigue might not be able to react as quickly in an emergency, communicate important information to coworkers or even work productively.
The major signs of fatigue usually fall into three main categories: physical, mental/performance and emotional.
- Physical signs of fatigue include sleepiness, yawning, heavy eyelids, rubbing of eyes, micro-sleeps (accidental and unnoticed periods of sleep that last anywhere from 1 to 30 seconds), loss of appetite, digestive issues, and higher susceptibility to illness.
- Mental/performance signs of fatigue include a difficulty in focusing, slowed reaction times, forgetfulness, poor recall, flawed logic, increases in risk taking and incorrectly performing tasks.
- Emotional signs of fatigue include feelings of depression, anxiety, irritability and moodiness.
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