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Letter from Lesley: the impact of tiredness on safety

17/05/2019 - 09:41AM

I am exhausted. 

And I am still in Greece fighting with my Mum’s travel insurer to get us home for rehabilitation on her broken hip.

My days revolve around meals and meds and Mun’s daily physiotherapy sessions. I am here in the hospital from early morning until late at night. And the lack of sleep makes me ratty and I’m sure it impacted my judgement.

But it’s an inconvenience and nothing a good meal, a (large) glass of wine and a decent couple of night’s sleep without having to worry Mum is safe and unafraid won’t solve.

So, I was interested to see that the HSE is having a drive on to ensure people understand the dangers of working when tired. 

They always say you shouldn’t operate machinery or drive if you are sleepy. Many occupations - like long distance lorry drivers or pilots - are restricted from working more than their safe limit of hours. 

I know tiredness can be very misleading. People often fail to realise they have nodded off. The road research people in the UK have run loads of tests using driving simulators. They found micro-sleeps could be responsible for many road accidents, injuries and deaths as just a few seconds nodding off in a fast moving vehicle could see you collide with the car in front or cannon off the central reservation.

The same is true of the dangers inherent in construction. Employers need to ensure the wellbeing of their staff. And tiredness has to be factored in as a risk as well as workers realising their limits.

I certainly have come to know mine.

Click on the box on the right to visit the HSE page about fatigue risk management. 

Source: APS