Managing Fatigue for Workplace Safety

Managing Fatigue for Improved Workplace Safety [White Paper]

Studies show that even moderate sleep deprivation can impair both cognitive and motor performance equivalent to a blood alcohol content of up to 0.1%.1,2 No organisation would allow employees to work when under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Yet fatigue—which can lead to comparable impairments in performance and safety—often does not receive the same level of attention. The few companies who do have fatigue management policies in place typically stop at limiting work hours.

Employee fatigue not only negatively impacts attendance, performance, engagement and wellbeing, but it can also be triggered by job factors that are the responsibility of the organisation. There are initiatives that organisations can implement to reduce the negative impact of employee fatigue, but they must target all levels—from the top floor to the shop floor.

In this white paper, explore the impact of fatigue on health, safety and performance, and what organisations can practically do to combat fatigue in the workplace.


  • Fatigue and Employee Performance
  • Understanding That Fatigue is About More Than Just Sleep
  • Managing Fatigue by Targeting Job Factors
  • Targeting Fatigue at an Employee Level
  • Organisational Fatigue Management Considerations
  • A Study of Fatigue in Heavy Industry
Managing Fatigue
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First published 2014. Last updated 2018.

  1. Arnedt, J. T., Owens, J., Crouch, M., Stahl, J. & Carskadon, M. (2005). Neurobehavioural performance of residents after heavy night call vs after alcohol ingestion. Journal of the American Medical Association, 294(9), 1025-1033.
  2. Williamson, A. M. & Feyer, A. (2000). Moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 57, 649-655