How to Prevent Injuries Caused By Fatigue

March 1, 2017 Rieva Lesonsky

Keeping employees safe on the job should be a priority for every field services business. You provide your workers with the proper tools to do their jobs and protective gear to wear, but are you doing all you can to prevent fatigue-related injuries?

Between physical labor such as crawling under a house to inspect pipes or climbing onto a roof to repair shingles, field services workers also deal with long hours on the road driving between service calls. They typically start work early in the morning, and their workday often extends longer than expected. All of this combines to make fatigue a major risk factor for your employees.

Fatigued workers are at greater risk of injuring themselves or others. They may also make costly errors in their work that result in dissatisfied customers, property damage or having to redo work. Here are five steps you can take to help prevent fatigue-related injuries.

  1. Schedule adequate coverage. Don’t let your employees spread themselves too thin. Using an app like Lighthouse 360 makes it easy to update schedules when needed, such as when someone calls in sick, the update can be shared with everyone in real-time. It’s simple to send a text message to the entire team so everyone knows who’s working when.
  2. Keep tabs on you team’s progress during the day. For instance, if you know that Steve’s job is running long, you can send Susan out to handle Steve’s next scheduled customer so they don’t have to wait. You can use Lighthouse 360 to track what your employees are doing and get real-time updates on each job’s status.
  3. Give workers enough time to rest. Employees who want to stay on schedule often work through their breaks or lunch hours to keep up. However, this well-intentioned approach can backfire if workers get so tired they make dangerous mistakes. Require rest breaks at regular intervals and have supervisors enforce this policy.
  4. Limit overtime. While overtime may be necessary occasionally, consistently giving employees overtime leads to fatigue, and employees’ performances will suffer. (Overtime also costs you a bundle.) According to statistics cited by OSHA, employees who work 12 hours a day are 37 percent more likely to suffer a work-related injury. When you use a mobile scheduling app like Lighthouse 360, you’ll be able to see at a glance if someone on your team is taking on too much overtime.
  5. Plan for weather-related delays. Pay attention to the weather forecast each day so you can be prepared if rain or snow slows employees down en route to a job or keeps your team from inspecting a roof. If you expect a stretch of bad weather for several days, you may want to allow extra time for each job or build in a buffer of 30 minutes between customer appointments.

 

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