Over the past 25 years, extensive research has confirmed that fatigue, as related to shiftwork, is fundamentally a physiological problem, not a behavioral one.
As responsible managers and operators, we strive to keep our equipment well-oiled and well maintained. It would seem to make sense to keep what we all tout as our "most important asset" - our people - equally well maintained and operated. Yet, ironically, our people are being asked to operate outside their design specs every day to support our continuous production requirements. The net result has been premature failure (in terms of sickness and injury), costly downtime (in terms of absenteeism and presenteeism), high maintenance (in terms of health and wellness costs), and lost productivity due to human error. Continuing to neglect our most important asset will perpetuate this cycle of high cost and catastrophic risk. It is time to understand that these costs, risks and liabilities no longer have to be accepted and financed as part of doing business. With today's knowledge base, technology, and available fatigue/shiftwork interventions, they can be converted into a new source of operating profit and reliability that we never knew or believed existed. Moreover, they can be systematically addressed through a collaborative, human involvement process between labor and management to achieve substantial win-win benefits.
This whitepaper encourages employers to recognize the importance and urgency of fatigue management.