The Dangers Of Fatigue In The Workplace

Fatigue increases the risk of injuries or other accidents. As an employer, ensure your workers are not experiencing signs or effects of fatigue on the job. You can help make your workers and your business safer by including information on fatigue and sleep in your safety guidelines and orientations. You can also develop a fatigue management plan.

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is a state of feeling very tired, exhausted, weary, or sleepy. Fatigue results from a lack of sleep and can be heightened from prolonged mental activity or long periods of stress or anxiety. Boring or repetitive tasks can also intensify feelings of fatigue.

Fatigue can be acute or chronic.

Acute fatigue results from a sudden onset of short-term sleep loss, such as getting less sleep than normal before a work shift. Adequate sleep is necessary to reverse the effects of acute fatigue. Chronic fatigue is a long-term state that results from an extended loss of necessary sleep. A sleep debt can build over weeks or months from a reduction or disruption of a normal sleep routine.

h3p>Signs and symptoms of fatigue

Train supervisors and workers to recognize the immediate signs and symptoms of fatigue, which include the following:

• Tiredness or sleepiness

• Memory lapses

• Difficulty concentrating

• Slower reaction times

Effects of fatigue

Studies indicate that the risk of making mistakes at work increases significantly if workers sleep for less than the average (7.5–8.5 hours) or are awake for more than 17 consecutive hours.

The effects of fatigue can reduce a worker’s:

• Ability to make decisions

• Ability to do complex planning

• Communication skills

• Productivity and performance

• Attention

• Ability to handle stress

• Reaction time

• Ability to recall details

• Ability to respond to changes in surroundings or information provided

Fatigue can also result in:

• Inability to stay awake

• Increased forgetfulness

• Increased errors in judgment

Over the long term, fatigue can result in health effects, such as loss of appetite and digestive problems, and other chronic health conditions, including depression. These effects can result in:

• Increased sick time, absenteeism, and rate of turnover

• Increased medical costs

One study has shown that fatigue can have similar effects to drinking alcohol:

• 17 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.05 (the legal limit in

British Columbia)

• 21 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.08

• 24–25 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.10

Causes of fatigue

Fatigue is caused primarily by long hours of being awake. Other causes include extended shifts, shift rotations (days and nights), and irregular or disrupted sleep. Workplace factors, such as the following, can also increase feelings of fatigue:

• High temperatures

• High noise levels

• Dim lighting or poor visibility

• Work tasks that are long, repetitive, paced, difficult, boring, or monotonous

Alcohol and caffeine

A lack of quality sleep can contribute to fatigue.

Substances such as caffeine and alcohol can affect sleep quality and quantity, particularly if taken in the hours before bedtime. Alcohol may shorten the time to fall asleep, but it will disrupt sleep patterns.


Prescription medications and over-the-counter medications can also affect sleep and may cause a sense of sleepiness and loss of alertness during work.

Sleep disorders

Sleep apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia, and other disorders affect alertness. If workers are experiencing any symptoms related to sleep disorders they should seek a doctor’s advice.

How to help your workers stay safe

Create shift schedules that give workers enough time

If the job requires long hours or overtime, consider that your workers will need enough time for other daily activities, such as commuting, preparing and eating meals, socializing, and relaxing.

Provide a work environment that has good lighting, comfortable temperatures, and reasonable noise levels.

Ensure that jobs provide some variety, with work tasks that change throughout the shift. Be flexible when assigning tasks — assign workers who may be fatigued to tasks that aren’t safety sensitive.

If your workplace has long shifts or frequent overtime, consider providing amenities, such as the following:

• Prepared meals

• On-site accommodations

• Facilities where workers can nap either during the shift or before driving home

Tips for getting a better sleep

People need at least 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep a day.

Studies have found that most night-shift workers get less sleep per week than those who work day shifts.

The quality of sleep during the day is not the same as during the night.

Here are some guidelines you can pass on to your workers for improving quality of sleep:

• Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

• Turn out the light immediately when going to bed.

• Don’t read or watch television in bed.

• Make your room as dark and quiet as possible.

Some people sleep better in a cool room.

• Establish regular eating times.

• Avoid caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol, especially before bedtime.

• Exercise regularly.

Other resources

Human Factors Bulletin 2009-03 (WorkSafeBC)

HSE Human Factors Briefing Note No. 10: Fatigue

(Health and Safety Executive)

Shift Work and Fatigue online program

(Work Safe Alberta)

Sonic Enclosures’ Matei Ghelesel Honoured by BIV

Matei Ghelesel, president and owner of Sonic Enclosures of Delta, has been chosen as one of Business in Vancouver (BIV) magazine’s 2014 Forty Under 40 honourees.

According to BIV, “Only having joined the company in 2012, Ghelesel led a successful management buyout last year, becoming Sonic’s president, COO and majority shareholder.”

The company website describes Sonic Enclosures as having “built a reputation for integrity, uncompromising quality, and engineering excellence in the design and manufacturing of modular enclosure solutions and metal buildings worldwide. Our products are suitable for a wide range of sectors – including the oil and gas, mining, marine, offshore, and forestry industries.

“Having just completed delivering 23 Electrical Rooms made up of 55 standard modular sections for the Kitimat Modernization Project, Sonic Enclosures is well positioned to play a key role in the upcoming LNG projects in the Pacific Northwest.”

For more on Sonic Enclosures click here.

Rimex Wins Innovations Contest

Rimex Supply is the winner of WorkSafeBC’s 2014 Innovations Contest. According to WorkSafeBC, Rimex used a participatory approach, consulting with their workers, to make improvements to their processing of half and full lock rings.

“The old process had workers lifting or lowering the rings, which weigh up to 50 kg (110 lb.), eleven times while taking them through their stations. After building new top plates and tables and connecting the stations using roller conveyors, Rimex reduced the lifting or lowering of rings to two times. Workers developed, tested, and improved the solutions throughout the process.

“One of the improvements involved reducing noise levels during stamping, by using a table with rubber between two steel plates. Plans for continued improvement include adding a rotating table to turn the full lock rings and a hoist attachment to eliminate manual lifting.”

“We were very honored to even be considered for this award. We try to involve our employees in all decisions which affect them and their working conditions. This was truly an example of the kind of success you can achieve with a participatory approach,” says James Read, Rimex’s Agassiz Plant Manager.

“Having endeavored to start our journey down the lean Manufacturing road, we have been correctly and gently coerced into the participatory method and the rewards are obvious not only for the recognition, but for the positive moral that derives from true teamwork, calculated empowerment and education.”

RIMEX Supply

RIMEX is the leading custom manufacturer of all off road wheel and rim assemblies. RIMEX’s primary markets include mining, forestry, agriculture and industrial equipment, specializing in haul trucks and loaders. Established in 1976, RIMEX has over 35-years-experience custom manufacturing wheels and rims for some of the world’s largest and most demanding vehicles.

In addition to wheels and rims designed to meet various off-highway applications, RIMEX offers a full range of complementary products to match their wheel counterparts. A tire pressure monitoring system, portable tire press, and air pressure relief valves are just a sample of the many RIMEX products that will save you time and money and improve worksite safety.

Ergonomics eNews

What is the purpose of consultation?

From WSBC. Under the Ergonomics (MSI) Requirements, workers must be consulted in the musculoskeletal injury (MSI) prevention process. The purpose of consultation is to obtain feedback from the workforce. The model of consultation used will depend on the size and complexity of the employer.

Some larger employers have found it most effective to develop a facility-wide framework for MSI-risk management, while encouraging effective local decision making to resolve MSI issues as they arise.

Experience shows that workers who perform the job are the best source of information for identifying, assessing, and effectively controlling the risk of MSI. When workers are involved in the MSI-prevention process, they can often provide insight into the risks associated with their work — and they often have good ideas about effective risk controls.

Consultation also provides a forum for involving the workforce in decision making that affects their work activities. This encourages workers to engage with the process, making the MSI-reduction strategy more likely to succeed. The WorkSafeBC publication Preventing Musculoskeletal Injury (MSI): A Guide for Employers and Joint Committees (PDF 1.6 MB) is available to assist you.

Kerry Canada Wins Two NAOSH Week Awards

Kerry Canada is a leader in global food ingredients offering the broadest range of technology-based ingredients, flavours and functional ingredients in the industry.

Many Kerry brands are household favourites.

Kerry Canada’s Delta plant is located on River Road in Delta and the company has a warehouse on Progress Way.

The company was recently honoured during the October 2014 NAOSH Awards ceremony coming away with two prestigious awards.

Kerry Canada won the Best Overall and Best Food Processing and Manufacturing categories.

“I feel honored to represent the Food Processing and Manufacturing industry in BC. It represents very large group of small and large businesses,” Lyn Peterson, Production Manager for Kerry Canada told FIOSA-MIOSA.

“Winning the Best Overall award was the icing on the cake. We had a great week, and I was blessed this past year to have the experience of working with a young team. They have such great creativity, education and drive. The commitment of all the managers, supervisors combined with the inspiration of the young workers won the award for Kerry,” she added.

Kerry is a global company employing more than 24,000 employees and producing more than 15,000 products supplied to customers in 140 countries worldwide. The company has an operational footprint in 25 countries and its Delta operations play a significant part in the Americas region.

According to Peterson, Kerry’ Delta operation strives to be a leader in health and safety and continues to be an advocate to their fellow sites across Canada and the US by communicating on site accomplishments and award winning achievements such as the two NAOSH awards.

Peterson says the company has always focused on occupational health and safety.

“In 2011, we learned of NAOSH Safety Week, and participated in our first safety week activities. We have continued to do so every year since, and we all look forward to it every year,” she says.

According to Peterson, Kerry’s commitment to safety starts at a corporate level, and is mandated.

“Safety is first on the agenda of our daily meetings, in our employee reviews and ranks with or above quality and production at every level.

“We have Safety Metrics which monitor all of our activities for OHS. All of our training, workplace inspections (time to completion as well as % completed), investigations, injuries and incidents are logged.

“Alongside this we have a Safety Improvement Plan. Within it we must set out goals each year in four categories: Management Initiatives, Policy and Procedures, Education and Training, and Risk Reduction,” explains Peterson.

ePACT Network – Supporting Your Culture Of Safety

‘Safety first’ is a motto which gets tossed around a lot. But how do we ensure it is really the case for our company and our employees? We’d like to introduce you to ePACT, an online network that supports you and your team through all of life’s emergencies.

Today, most companies store the personal and emergency contact information for their employees in HR systems, spreadsheets or paper forms. One of the problems with this approach is that during an emergency at the office, plant or in the field, this critical information cannot be immediately accessed or used when it is needed most.

ePACT brings these static records to life with anytime-anywhere access to information and communications on your mobile device.

ePACT is a single solution to manage all of your safety and emergency preparedness needs in the following ways:

  • The system goes beyond mass notifications, so you can instantly communicate with your employees, their families and the public via text, email, voice and app
  • In a natural disaster, ePACT provides a way for your employees to communicate with their loved ones, even if phone lines are down
  • In addition, ePACT ensures the most effective response to a crisis, as authorized team members can access up-to-date and accurate emergency information for your staff

ePACT ensures your company’s commitment to safety is followed from senior management to the front lines.

Take a look at ePACT’s guides and resources to further support your company’s safety initiatives at Contact Graham at or 604-816-9106 to set-up a free demo of ePACT.

FIOSA-MIOSA Recognized In BC Legislature

Greg Kyllo, the Parliamentary Secretary to the BC Jobs Plan, rose in the BC Legislature on Monday, November 3, and spoke about FIOSA-MIOSA and the 2014 Make it Safe Manufacturing Conference in Burnaby.

Kyllo spoke at length about the good work of the people at FIOSA-MIOSA in helping the BC manufacturing industry establish safety standards and help reduce injury rates across the province.

BC Jobs Plan

The BC Jobs Plan was launched September of 2011 as a strategy to grow the economy and create job opportunities for British Columbians.

It was founded on three key pillars:

Expanding markets for B.C. products, particularly in Asia.
Strengthening our infrastructure to get our goods to market.
Working with employers and communities to enable job creation across B.C
The BC Jobs Plan works to ensure we have a competitive, diversified, export-oriented economy that is growing and adding jobs.

To accelerate economic growth, the Jobs Plan builds on the strengths of our most competitive sectors, our educated and skilled workforce, and the fiscal discipline in government.

One of the crucial elements of maintaining a competitive manufacturing sector which continues to employ an educated and skilled workforce, is maintaining the highest level of health, safety and well-being in our workplaces.

FIOSA-MIOSA, through its Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence (OSSE), provides one of the most effective OHS management systems which helps BC businesses maintain a competitive edge in an increasingly competitive world market.

Kyllo expressed his appreciation for the fact that FIOSA-MIOSA was hosting the two-day 2014 Make it Safe Manufacturing Safety Conference and urged his fellow members of the legislature to congratulate FIOSA-MIOSA for its hard work helping industry build healthier and safer workplaces.

Trevor Linden Helps Make it Safe Conference Strike A Human Chord

While the Canucks had their plate full this week, facing some of their toughest competition in the Western conference, Canucks President Trevor Linden took time out of his busy schedule to speak at the Make it Safe Manufacturing Safety Conference and to make a young boy’s day.

“Trevor demonstrated what this conference was all about by stepping out of his busy and demanding life and touch someone who, more than anyone, needs to understand his right to have a safe and healthy workplace when he grows up,” said FIOSA-MIOSA CEO Lisa McGuire of Linden’s speech.

Beckett Cross delighted delegates at the two-day conference held in Burnaby with a discussion about hockey (Beckett is an avid minor hockey player) and traded stories with Linden during his address to delegates. When Cross mentioned he plays on a team with Kevin Bieksa’s son, Linden, after asking if the boys were any good, suggested the three of them should sit down and talk after the conference.

Cross later dropped by the BC Safety Charter exhibit to get an autograph (see photo).

The conference, devoted this year to the Return on Investment of People, Processes and Economics, is put on every year by the FIOSA-MIOSA Safety Alliance of BC and brings health and safety professionals from all over BC and Western Canada together for two days of breakout sessions, panels and keynote speakers devoted to the latest developments in health, safety and well-being.

Linden spoke Tuesday morning about what he learned in his playing years about safety and how he transferred that knowledge and passion into the business world when he founded Trevor Linden Club 16 Fitness.


A signatory and strong supporter of the BC Safety Charter, Linden spoke passionately about his years at the head of the NHL Players Association and the many safety issues they had to deal with. He described how he was able to transfer the care for his teammates and fellow players to his employees at Club 16 Fitness.

“Leadership is about ensuring that all employees understand and share the values and characteristics of the organization,” Linden told delegates. Describing his mentor, former Canucks GM and coach Pat Quinn, as the man who taught how to be a professional and a leader.

“For Pat it always came down to respect,” Linden says. “He asked a lot of his players but he respected each one of us for our specific, unique abilities.”

Linden was but one of several BC business leaders and health and safety experts to address the conference.

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Richard Pimentel, a Vietnam war vet, who changed history and tore down barriers for the disabled, gave a passionate address about Return-to-Work (RTW) programs and the need to have RTW programs focus on what injured workers can do rather than what they are unable to do.

“The price of support should not be your dignity,” Pimentel told the delegates.

make-it-safe-blog2-2014Kevin Burns, President and CEO of ZeroSpeak Corporation provided an inspiring address on the process successful companies use to instill a safety attitude and build an engaged culture of safety in their organization.

Burns told delegates that’s safety is much more than a book on a shelf.

“Safety is a process and you must trust the process,” he says.

By the end of his speech delegates were eagerly shouting out “Trust the process,” whenever he prompted them.

National Board member of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and past chair of CME’s British Columbia Division, Paul Boileau, addressed the conference on the savings business and industry can achieve by preventative action on health and safety.

Boileau is a passionate believer in the role of CEOs and business leaders in driving home the message of safety as an integral part of the culture of any organization. It was a message that resonated with delegates and was a central theme of the conference.


Return On Investment

Lisa McGuire, CEO of FIOSA-MIOSA, the host organization for the conference, set the tone of the conference by telling the representatives of BC’s manufacturing industry that the fact that it was now acceptable to talk openly about the return on investment in health and safety was a measure of how far industry in BC has come.

“Our theme this year – Return on Investment of People, Processes & Economics – speaks well, I think, to the tremendous distance we have come in recent years in our journey towards a better, safer workplace,” McGuire told delegates adding, “Today we can talk openly about the return on investment in safety. The truth is, is it is our people – the human beings who shape our success – which matter most.”

Workplace Health And Safety

WorkSafeBC, one of the sponsors of the conference, was represented by Chris Back, Manager, Industry & Labour Services, who introduced to new tools (ISIC and ESPTK) which provide the ability for business owners and safety professionals to track their own health and safety data and make informed decisions about how and where to allocate their resources in order to improve safety.

Dr. Paul Amyotte, a Professor of Chemical Engineering, and the C.D. Howe Chair in Engineering, at Dalhousie University in Halifax, spoke about mitigation measures and effective ways of increasing protection against the risks associated with combustible dust in the workplace.

Other topics addressed by guest speakers and industry experts included: machine guarding, workplace mental health and wellness, and our brains at work. Breakout sessions during the two days focused on issues such as: musculoskeletal injuries, ergonomics, the HR and OHS perspective on corporate culture and how to manage the new generation – Generation ‘Y’ which is entering the work force.

Special sessions were devoted to two of FIOSA-MIOSA’s most successful programs – the Safety Pooling System, which allows companies to share the costs of health and safety, and the Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence (OSSE) which has become the BC Manufacturing Standard of Excellence.


OSSE is the accreditation program, offered by FIOSA-MIOSA, which is equivalent to and surpasses WorkSafeBC’s Partners in Injury and Disability Prevention Program.

The program includes a safety culture component and recognizes and rewards employers who go beyond the legal requirements of the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation by taking a ‘best practices’ approach and promotes equally the concept of managing health and safety with other components necessary for a successful business such as profitability and productivity.

Corrie Pitzer, founder of SAFEmap International, provided a rousing discussion of the human strengths which can drive each of us to accomplish incredible feats and the need for health and safety programs to never lose the human touch or forget to rely on the human element.

“People deliver safety to you every day,” he told delegates, adding, “If you don’t know why they are successfully providing you with that … you had better find out quick instead of focusing on rules, policies and procedures which list the things people should not do.”

In closing the conference, Lisa McGuire thanked Jeremy Slater, Regional Sales Manager for Acklands Grainger, and Master of Ceremonies for the conference. “Acklands Grainger is a valued partner on many of our initiatives and we highly value their support and contribution towards our collective vision of reducing injuries,” she said.

All photos by Arne Huse.

BCIT, FIOSA-MIOSA Form Research Partnership

FIOSA-MIOSA Safety Alliance of BC is pleased to announce it has formed a research partnership with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

OHS Research, Programs & Development Manager, Manobhiram Nellutla, says, “We are very happy to be able to partner with BCIT and work together on some exciting and important new research. “

“This project provides a bridge between industry and academic research which can provide some very important solutions to industry and give researchers current industry problems to work on,” says Nellutla.

Any industry-related issue which can be resolved with new or altered equipment or technology can now be developed and evaluated by BCIT’s MAKE+ applied research group.

The research partnership will involve the development of 3D prototypes for altering or adapting existing equipment and technology based on proven industrial design research methodologies.

The work will also focus on one of the largest areas of workplace injuries – musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs). FIOSA-MIOSA, through its STENA program, already takes a systems based approach to ergonomics and, sometimes the conclusions made about tasks and workstations involve a change to the technology or equipment being used to conduct the tasks.

Simply put; the technology or equipment may simply not match to the task in a way that is safe for the worker. The costs of developing an entirely new piece of machinery can be prohibitively high. This partnership will allow prototypes of new technology to be developed and tested funded through various research funding organizations such as the NRC-IRAP and NSERC.

BCIT’s MAKE+ applied research group has the ability to produce sample prototypes with the use of 3D printers. The technology will allow expert researchers to work with industry to solve occupational hazards.

“We would like to encourage our members to come forward with situational evidence from their shop floors where they experience consistent MSI incidents at particular pieces of equipment. Once we have looked at the tasks, the procedures and all facets of the system to determine the cause(s) of the incidents, we are often left with the machinery itself,” says Nellutla.

That’s where this partnership comes in.

“Whereas we were once restricted by costs and a number of other factors which made it very difficult to change technology, we will now be able to make effective recommendations based on real world experience and testing of prototypes developed at BCIT, “he adds.

According to Nellutla, the research expertise and facilities, including 3D technology, available at BCIT is capable of developing and building prototypes of technology as simple as a hammer all the way up to the complex machinery which exists in most manufacturing industries today.

“We are very pleased to be able to announce the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with such a prestigious and respected institution as BCIT,” says Nellutla, adding, “This partnership represents an enormous opportunity for our members.”

Fork Lift Rally 2014

On Saturday September 13th, 2014 forklift operators from across British Columbia came together to compete at the 16th BC Championship Forklift Rally held at the Cloverdale Agriplex.

Almost 50 competitors from 24 companies including Best Buy, Cold Logic, Columbia Bottling, Convoy Supply, Gordon Food Service, Kaltire, Kodak, London Drugs, Mountain Equipment Co-op, PepsiCo, Toyota, VersaCold and Wallace & Carey competed for $4000 in prize money.
The competition had four divisions (Counterbalanced Electric, Reach Truck, Power Pallet Jack, Counterbalanced Propane) with each division having $1000 in Prize Money – $500 for first, $300 for second and $200 for third.
Competitors skills were tested by a precision driving course and their knowledge challenged with a written test based on WorkSafeBC Regulations. In addition, competitors were also able to have a little fun by trying their hand at Forklift Basketball, Bowling & Soccer!
Spectators were admitted for free and encouraged to bring co-workers, friends and family to cheer on the competitors.

Attractions included:

Free Donuts & Coffee (courtesy of Cascade Equipment)
BBQ Lunch (courtesy of Johnston Equipment)
Beverages (courtesy of PepsiCo Canada)
Bouncy Castle (courtesy of Kelly Services)
The Latest & Greatest Forklifts on display


Rajender Sohi – E.V. Logistics – Power Pallet Jack
James Ralphs – London Drugs – Reach Truck
Rui Paiva – Toyota – Counterbalanced Electric
Mike Adamski – Chalifour – Counterbalanced Propane


Eric Symons – London Drugs – Power Pallet Jack
Shane Donald – Cold Logic – Reach Truck
Randy Langwell – Americold – Counterbalanced Electric
Corey Steele – Convoy Supply – Counterbalanced Propane


Chris Bronson – VersaCold (Cliveden) – Power Pallet Jack
Alex Lam – VersaCold (Derwent)- Reach Truck
Gary Siu – London Drugs – Counterbalanced Electric
Nav Mander – E.V. Logistics – Counterbalanced Propane

Supporters & Suppliers

Forklifts were supplied by Johnston Equipment (Raymond), Harding Forklift (Yale), Wajax (Hyster) & Williams Machinery (Linde) and racking was supplied by Johnston Equipment.
The judging was made up of certified trainers from Mobile Equipment Training companies including Pivot Training Services, NIS Training, Safety Driven & DWM Unlimited.
Pallets were supplied by London Drugs, transportation was provided by ATS Healthcare and traffic cones were provided by Fortis. The event staff at theCloverdale Fairgrounds did their usual fantastic job – thanks guys.


The event is held in partnership with WorkSafeBC, and sponsors included East Penn Manufacturing,, Harding Forklift Services Ltd.,Johnston Equipment, Safety Driven, Wajax and Williams Machinery.