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Work-related fatigue

Fatigue is more than feeling tired and drowsy. In a work context, fatigue is a state of mental and/or physical exhaustion which reduces a person’s ability to perform work safely and effectively.

It can occur because of prolonged mental or physical activity, sleep loss and/or disruption of the internal body clock.

Fatigue can be caused by factors which may be work related, non-work related or a combination of both and can accumulate over time.

Managing fatigue

Fatigue management is a shared responsibility between management and workers as it involves factors both inside and outside of work. Employers are responsible for using a risk management approach to manage fatigue.

Safe Work Australia's Guide for managing the risk of fatigue at work provides guidance for employers on how to manage fatigue to ensure it does not contribute to health and safety risks in the workplace. To support this national guide, the handbook for Preventing and managing fatigue-related risk in the workplace (PDF, 1483.67 KB) provides employers with further guidance as well as practical templates and tools to support the implementation of control measures.

Safe Work Australia's Fatigue management – a guide for workers provides practical guidance for workers on how to manage fatigue to ensure it does not contribute to health and safety risks in the workplace.

Read more about a case study on the use of good work design in the management of fatigue risks.

Last updated
15 July 2020

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