The construction industry is an inherently dangerous sector due to the nature of the job. While most people associate construction risks with dangerous materials and heavy machinery, there is another underestimated, yet influential, factor that affects construction workers: fatigue. Between construction workers’ demanding schedules, long hours, and the constant need to stay alert, the challenges these workers face are undeniably difficult. Therefore, let’s dive into some of the most common causes of worker fatigue, warning signs, its impact, and how we can work to combat the adverse effects.
There are a number of factors that contribute to worker fatigue in the construction industry. Here, we will explore a few of them:
Oftentimes, construction workers are required to work irregular hours in order to complete their jobs. For example, if the construction work is blocking a major roadway that drivers are constantly driving on, this may require construction to only be performed in the late night hours. This makes for many late nights, irregular sleep schedules, and lots of fatigue.
Overtime and a lack of adequate breaks:
It is crucial that construction workers take adequate breaks and stray away from working overtime in order to mitigate fatigue. Fortunately, there are laws and regulations in place in California that help to minimize the risk of this occurring. In California, construction workers are required to take a paid 10-minute break for every four hours of work and an unpaid meal break for at least 30 minutes if working more than five hours in a day.
Physically demanding tasks:
The physically demanding nature of working on a construction site is in and of itself very exhausting. Even if an individual were to take adequate breaks and work regular hours, the activities performed would still take a toll on one’s body. To mitigate the physical strain on the workforce, incorporating machinery or heavy equipment is one of the best solutions you can do. For example, find a forklift rental, reducing the manual labor of transporting heavy materials on a construction site. Incorporating equipment like forklifts enhances efficiency and prioritizes worker well-being by minimizing the physical toll associated with manual material handling.
Lack of supervision:
In the construction industry, it is incredibly important that employees are supervised on a regular basis. Having a set of eyes to pay attention to how a construction worker is operating can help to identify early warning signs that an individual may be experiencing fatigue and is not able to perform to their full potential.
If construction workers do not receive proper training, this may result in fatigue in that their methodology of approaching a project may not be efficient and timely.
There are some important warning signs and symptoms that you should be aware of that may indicate worker fatigue. It is important to note that these symptoms can be either physical or emotional. These symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Blurred vision
- Sore muscles
- Slower reflexes
- Lack of energy
It is important to recognize the impact that worker fatigue can have on both construction workers and the construction project as a whole. When a construction worker is fatigued, it will have a direct impact on the quality of work that they produce. This, in turn, can impact and delay the completion date of the construction project and may result in tasks having to be unnecessarily repeated. Additionally, fatigue is known to reduce alertness and decision-making, which can greatly increase the risk of an accident occurring. Furthermore, construction worker fatigue should not be taken lightly.
How To Combat Worker Fatigue
Now that you are familiar with the common causes, warning signs, and impacts of construction worker fatigue, it is important to learn about some steps to take to help combat it and reduce the risk. Here are some tips to help reduce worker fatigue:
- Make sure regular breaks are taken
- Regular health and wellness check-ins
- Ensure proper training and education
- Integrate the use of technology to increase efficiency
- Promote safe work habits
- Develop manageable and reasonable schedules and shifts
If you have been injured on a construction site as a result of worker fatigue, poor training, or lack of safety protocols, contact a Los Angeles construction accident lawyer to learn about your rights and what legal options you may be able to pursue.