Tag Archives: fatigue


Is your job a stand-only one?   Any prolonged position can hurt your body, and standing is no exception.  The best position is standing in a variety of ways, where you equally distribute loads on different parts of the body but causes no physical strain.  There is no single, ideal body position for several hours of remaining upright while working.

 Workers often sit or stand for long periods of time, for example:   salesperson, machine operator, assembly-line worker, bank teller, store clerk, nurse, cooks, and waitresses.  They suffer many discomforts, such as muscular fatigue, low back pain, sore feet, or stiffness in the shoulders and neck. 

Excessive standing also causes the joints in the spine, hips, knees and feet to become temporarily locked.  This immobility can later lead to rheumatic diseases due to degenerative damage to the tendons and ligaments.  Those whose jobs require standing most of the time, should take frequent breaks and do some walking around the workplace to exercise their joints from being in the same position.  Stretching before and after work could help. If you spend most of your time at work standing, here are some tips you can do to improve your posture and reduce the ill effects: 

Proper position

If you work in a standing position, always face what you’re working on, keeping your body close to the work.  Adjust the workspace so that you have enough space to change positions. Use a foot rail or portable footrest to shift your body weight from both legs to one or the other leg. Use a seat whenever possible while working, or at least during rest breaks. Avoid over-reaching behind or above the shoulder line, or beyond the point of what is comfortable. Instead of reaching, shift your feet to face the object.  If you must stand to work, take frequent rest breaks.  Stretching through the day will relax your muscles. Bank tellers or convenience store clerks could have a stool located behind them, in order to sit while not attending to a customer.

Proper standing surface

The floor you stand on also greatly affects your level of comfort. Wooden, cork or rubber-covered floors are better than concrete or metal, but if you must stand on hard floors, stand on mats. Floor mats should have slanted edges to help prevent tripping. They must be dense enough to cushion the feet, but not too thick. Too much cushioning, from thick foam-rubber mats, for example, can cause fatigue and increase the hazard of tripping.

Workstation set up

Any stand-up workstation should be adjusted according to your height, using elbow height as the guide. For example, precision work, such as writing or electronic assembly, requires a work surface that’s 5 cm above elbow height; your elbows should be supported. Light work, such as assembly-line or mechanical jobs, require a work surface that is 5 to 10 cm below elbow height. Heavy work, demanding downward forces, requires a surface that is 20 to 40 cm below elbow height.

Wear Comfortable footwear

If your feet hurt, your legs, back and hips will also hurt.  The comfort of your feet depends largely on your footwear. Choose footwear that accommodates the hazards in your workplace. Your shoes should be as wide as your feet, leaving room to move your toes. They should have arch supports to prevent flattening of the feet, and a heel with a firm grip to prevent slipping.  Lace-up shoes are best, because they allow you to tighten the instep of your footwear, keeping your foot from slipping inside the shoe or boot. The footwear should have heels that are not flat, but are no higher than 5 cm (2 inches). Wear padding under the tongue if you suffer from tenderness over the bones at the top of the foot. And if you work on a metal or cement floor, cushion your foot with a shock-absorbing insole.

Many professional women –  attorneys, legislative employees, and others are required to dress for the job, including dress shoes, some with very high heels. The only advice to give them is to wear a pair of walking shoes while climbing up stairs or walking to their jobs, and don the heels once their day at work actually begins. Years later, they will possibly pay the price for standing all day in 4-5″ heels (to be fashionable).

Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety

Note: Texas America Safety Company recommends using posters to promote ergonomic safety for those workers who have to stand or sit in the same position all day.


Every day, thousands of people in the United States are involved in car accidents while driving. Fortunately, many of these accidents are nothing more than minor fender benders, but some are much more severe. Even a minor accident can cause a lot of problems.

By learning how to drive more defensively, you can help to reduce the chances that you will be involved in an accident. You can never completely remove the risk of being in a crash, but by keeping the following tips in mind, you can make yourself much safer while behind the wheel.

One of the most common causes of automobile accidents is excessive fatigue. Too often, people head out on the road early in the morning or late at night when they are feeling tired and groggy. Trying to drive while you are tired is almost as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.  Be sure to get plenty of sleep the night before you have to drive anywhere. If you have a long commute to work every morning, do yourself a favor and go to bed early. This way, you will be much sharper and more alert when you are driving to work.

Avoid all distractions when you are behind the wheel. Your cell phone should be off. Do not try to eat, apply makeup, shave, or do anything else while you are driving. Listening to the radio is okay, but turn it on the station you want before you start your engine.  Even a momentary distraction, such as changing a radio station or picking something up, is enough to cause an accident. Keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road at all times.

Give yourself a space cushion while you are driving. Never tailgate other cars, even if they are going more slowly than you find comfortable. You need to keep as much space as you can on all sides of your car while you are on the road. This way, if you need to swerve, brake or accelerate suddenly to avoid an accident, you will have room to do so.

Your eyes should be moving while you are driving. This does not mean that you should be staring at your feet or looking at your passengers. You need to check your rearview mirror, your side mirrors, and the space on all sides of your vehicle in a regular pattern. To drive safely, you should always be aware of what is in the immediate vicinity of your car, as well as conditions farther down the road.

The most important part of driving safely is developing self control. It can be hard to resist the urge to pass a slow driver, or to speed up for a yellow light. Remember that in the long run, the important thing is to make it safely to your destination. If you have to wait a few extra minutes to get there, that is a lot better than getting into an accident.

Developing safe driving habits helps you ensure that you and the other drivers on the road do not get into accidents. Use these tips to avoid any trouble while you are on the road.

Michael has been working in safety supplies and emergency kits industry for more than five years. As a product manager for  EDisasterSystems, he knows his merchandise and all the requirements from OSHA. He likes to write and share his ideas about the importance of safety and emergency prevention.

Note: Thank you, Michael for this information on driving safety.  Our parent company,  Texas America Safety Company, has been in business for the past twenty + years, providing the same type of safety products and understands the importance of safety gear. pb


Sent to us by Ryan Edun
People often worry about the dangers of having a natural gas furnace. While natural gas is affordable and burns clean, it can still produce deadly carbon monoxide if there is something wrong with the system. Carbon monoxide detectors will protect you from the danger, but it’s still wise to know what the warning signs are of a gas leak

Watch for the Odor
Natural gas has a unique odor. Often described as being comparable to rotten eggs, you can easily smell a gas leak. If you ever walk into your home and smell gas, you should call the gas company immediately for service. If you are unable to reach the gas company, then call the fire department because they can also help.

The Gentle Breeze
Gas leaking out of a line will have some pressure behind it. Look around the exterior of your home around the gas lines. Plants that are gently blowing like they are in a breeze could be directly under a leak.

Bubbling Puddles
If the ground is wet around buried gas lines, then the escaping gas can cause the moisture to bubble. Have your lines marked so you know the general direction lines move in underground. If you ever see puddles or ground moisture bubbling around the area of your buried gas lines, then you should call the gas company immediately.

Fading Plants
Gas will eventually dry out and kill off plants that are near an outdoor leak. Look for landscaping that suddenly struggles and dies with no visible cause. The culprit could be a gas leak steadily poisoning the plant.

Physical symptoms
It’s also important to know what physical symptoms you might suffer from if exposed to a gas leak. Understanding the warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning will help keep you and your family safe. Watch for these warning signs, and call for service immediately if you start seeing them.

Exhaustion and fatigue are a warning sign of serious poisoning. If you and the rest of your household find yourselves too tired to keep your eyes open in the middle of the day, you should get out of the house immediately and take in some fresh air.

Other serious warning problems include involuntary muscle twitching, difficult writing and assembling thoughts, spots in your vision and trouble hearing. There may be a high pitched noise sounding in your ears and a sensitivity to light. Chronic headaches are another warning sign you should heed.

While some gas leaks are serious and will cause a sudden onset of symptoms, other leaks are very minor. Low enough that you cannot detect them by simple odor, the symptoms can also set in slowly. If you notice new allergies, food sensitivities or just chronic unexplained headaches, then the problem could be lurking in the furnace. A cracked heat exchanger, defective parts or leaky connections could allow small levels of carbon monoxide to seep into the home. Over the long term, these small amounts are just as dangerous as the higher fatal levels.

You can avoid the drama of a gas leak by investing in regular maintenance. When your system is well cared for, you won’t have to worry as much about it leaking. With regular tune-ups, defective parts can be replaced before your system poses a threat to your family. You won’t have to worry about breakdowns, and you will hopefully avoid the danger of gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning.


 This article was sent to us by Kirsty Terry, referring to U.K. road safety.  Much of the information applies to U.S. drivers, as well. Kirsty later sent me a “Texas Friendly” version of the article, as I had no idea what a lorry was. (It’s a truck!) Pat

In recent years there has been a marked increase in the investment from the Government into Road Safety campaigns. And with the on-going encouragement to get more people cycling instead of driving the need to educate road users in all areas is far greater. There are a large number of potentially fatal hazards associated with driving – so here are some ways to help you drive as safely as possible…

Driver CPC – The Driver CPC is an EU course to help improve the quality of driving for truckers through their knowledge and skills.  The deadline for lorry drivers to have completed their CPC is September 2014. New drivers since 2009 have had to complete the course to get their licence.

Alcohol – any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive. If you have had alcohol within the past few hours it is advisable to seek another way home – always have a taxi number in your phone.

Mobile Phones – using a mobile phone while driving means you’re 4 times more likely to crash. It is also illegal. If you must be on the phone while travelling then always use a hands-free.

Tiredness – an estimated 20% of accidents on trunk roads and motorways are sleep-related – all those signs you see on the roadside about take a break? They are there for a reason! Don’t drive tired!

Seatbelt – not wearing a seatbelt can be fatal both for the driver and for passengers (even if you are sitting in the back seat).

Speed – speed limits are there for a reason, getting somewhere a few minutes faster is not worth risking a life over.

Physical modifications – Trucks have limited visibility from the drivers cab but there are a few ways in which to improve it. You could add a side-guard, side sensor or mirror system to your truck.

The key thing though is Awareness. Being aware of other road users is one of the most effective ways to drive safely so here are some tips…  Indicate well in advance of turning so anyone coming up beside you knows you will soon cross their path. Pass horses and riders slow and wide on country roads. Adapt your style of driving to the weather conditions – driving when the road is icy is worlds away from how you drive in dry weather. Know the height, weight and width of your vehicle – you don’t want to be one of those people pictured with their truck stuck under a bridge….

Safety should always be a priority for truck drivers – Fact. 

Finally a little bit about Milestone…

Milestone Operations is a Recruitment company specialising primarily in LGV driving work, we also have several Industrial and Commercial opportunities. This year at the Recruiter Awards for Excellence, Milestone were voted ‘Best Temporary Recruitment Agency of the year’. The company has gone from strength to strength in the last few years, experiencing rapid growth. We also have strong links with leading names in the logistics industry including DHL, Eddie Stobart and Norbert Dentressangle. Check out http://www.milestoneops.com/jobs_by_sector/HGV/ for more information


Estimates are that around 100,000 police-reported road crashes each year are caused by driver drowsiness and fatigue, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Drowsiness is as dangerous to driving as falling asleep at the wheel.  When drivers are tired and have stared at the little white line in the middle of the road too long, it causes a trance-like state.  Road trance can result in slow perceptions and reaction times, and can leave drivers unable to remember how they even got to their destinations.  Most drivers have probably experienced this driving fatigue at one time or another.  Some of the basic causes of fatigue are lack of sleep, poor diet, being overweight, lack of exercise, and drinking alcohol.  If you are planning a long road trip, or drive for a living, you should take an active part in prevention when it comes to driving in a tired or distracted state. 

Truck Driver Fatigue 

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety report that each year truck crashes kill over 5,000 people and injure almost 150,000 more on our nation’s roads and highways.  Large trucks are involved in multiple-vehicle fatal crashes at twice the rate of passenger vehicles.  Almost 800 large truck occupants, almost all of them drivers, die each year in these crashes.  Commercial drivers become fatigued from excessive daily and weekly work hours.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that more than 750 people die and 20,000 more are injured each year due directly to fatigued commercial vehicle drivers.  Drivers are limited to a certain amount of continuous driving; however, many times they are loading and unloading their cargo, which adds to their hours of work.  A proposed safety rule is that long-haul and regional drivers are required to use tamper-proof devices such as Electric On-Board Recorders, which monitor actual daily and weekly driving time. 

Symptoms of Driver Fatigue and Road Trance:

  • Eyes burning;
  • Heavy eyelids;
  • Muscles twitching;
  • Inability to focus eyes;
  • Yawning;
  • Wandering thoughts and disconnections;
  • Limbs feeling heavy, or numb, light and tingly;
  • Shallow breating. 

Recommendations to Help Prevent Driver Fatigue and Road Trance:

  • Regular exercise;
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet;
  • Start your trip as early in the day as possible;
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal before driving;
  • Avoid driving alone whenever possible;
  • Keep driver’s area cool and well-ventilated;
  • Talk to passengers without being distracted;
  • Be alert for road and traffic signs;
  • Take breaks every two hours or 100 miles; (may be difficult for long-haul drivers.)
  • On break, get out of vehicle and walk or stretch.
  • Avoid alcohol and any medications that could cause drowsiness.
  • If it is necessary, stop and take a 20-minute nap; sleeping longer will make you feel groggy. 

These suggestions from the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation, may help avoid accidents that often result from driver fatigue and road trance.  An alert driver is a safe driver.  Remember to practice safety at all times. Don’t learn it by accident!


This past Wednesday, there were two separate but related incidents of what “sleeping on the job” could have caused, when not one, but two commercial airplanes were unable to hail the traffic controller for landing clearance, yet landed safely with assistance from a regional control center.  This happened at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.  A United Airbus A320 was carrying sixty-three passengers and a crew of five, while an American Boeing 737 was flying with ninety-one passengers with a crew of six.  Thankfully, 165 persons were safe on the ground.  The lone controller, who had worked four consecutive overnight shifts,  had fallen asleep during the period of time the two pilots were calling in.   Concerns about worker fatigue have been voiced by The National Air Traffic Controllers Union and safety advocates for years.  

The FAA was asked four years ago to work with the controllers union to revise work schedules and practices and to develop a fatigue awareness program.  Their safety board stressed the “especially problematic” concerns regarding the common practice of scheduling controllers to work increasingly early shifts over a week.  Patrick Forrey, former president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association said several towers in the U.S. have only one worker during the midnight shift.  It’s unknown just how common this practice is.  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood noted that Reagan’s tower will get a second nighttime controller and he has asked the FAA to study staffing levels at other airports around the country.  Secretary LaHood stated, “One-person shifts are unsafe. Period.” 

Working at night has a greater impact than working the same number of hours in the daytime.  On average, shift workers lose 1 – 1 ½ hours of sleep for each 24-hour period.  This can build up a sleep debt of 6 hours after 4 nights.  Working more than three or four night shifts in a row can likely cause a significant sleep debt, bringing serious consequences for safety.  Our body clock is programmed to be awake during the day and asleep at night.  Night workers have to override their body clock to remain active at night. 

Prior to 2007, a study made by FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute showed there was widespread evidence of fatigue among air controllers.  Some of those findings were:

  • More than 2/3 of those interviewed said they experienced attention lapses driving to work for early morning or midnight shifts;
  • More than 1/3 reported falling asleep while driving to or from a midnight shift;
  • 60 to 80 per cent had caught themselves about to doze off during early morning or midnight shifts. 

Fatigue has lead to many human errors. Mistakes made by shift workers in the early morning hours were critical factors in disasters at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Bhopal, and the Exxon Valdez oil spillage.  Fatigue-induced human errors bring major consequences for public safety, as well as for the workers involved.  It has been estimated that in the U.S., fatigue contributes to between 20 and 40 per cent of all commercial vehicle crashes, causing the loss of more than 15,000 lives.  Extreme fatigue may cause a person to “disengage” briefly into a “micro-sleep”.  When this happens at a critical time, an accident may result.  Micro-sleeps have been observed in train drivers and airline pilots during periods of critical operations, with the drivers and pilots sometimes being unaware that it was happening.  

There is no single method of shift management that fits all circumstances, but whichever method is used, should be tailored to the needs of the particular organization.  One thing is for sure, when it comes to airline safety, there should never be only one person in the control tower during late hours.  One person working alone with the responsibilities of that job should be able to take breaks, such as for meals and restroom. The pressures of such concentrated mental and visual work could be relieved by the presence of a co-worker.  Those that choose to fly night or day, as well as the airline crews, deserve to have their safety a top priority.

Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Bloomberg News; Department of Labour, New Zealand.govt.nz


It’s a reality that some of us are just not in the best of moods during the holidays.  There can be many reasons for this, but sometimes, celebratory occasions bring out sadness in individuals.  I enjoy the holidays and look forward to being with my family, but at the beginning of the season, I always think of my parents, who passed away several years ago.  My dad loved Christmas; when we would decorate the tree, he put on the Christmas “records”, yes, records, and some of the Christmas music we listened to is still popular today.  He got so much pleasure out of doing all the things that made our Christmas special.  And, he could make delicious fudge!

It is normal to feel grief for those we have lost.  But there are those who suffer from depression all year long, and certain times of the year make them even bluer.  Depression is an illness; it can cause physical pain as well as emotional stress.  You and I can’t cure someone that suffers from this illness; it requires professional help.  But we can be more attentive to our surroundings and watch for signs that our work friend may be having a more difficult time in performing his/her duties.  They could be struggling with relationships or physical demands that we are not aware of.  Sometimes the season alone can be the reason their feelings are magnified.  If you know someone who may be depressed, do what you can to encourage him to trust his healthcare provider for professional help.  It is important that they stay on medications and call their provider if symptoms get worse.  

If there are parties after work for the employees to get together, don’t encourage anyone to consume alcohol if they are “down in the dumps.”  Alcohol is a depressant.  Excessive drinking only increases feelings of depression, so this is important for all of us to remember, whether we are with our work friends or other acquaintances. 

During these economic times, folks are doing their best to furnish what gifts they are able to give without extending their budget too far.  Keep track of holiday spending.  If you overspend, you will be pretty depressed when the bills arrive.  Most of the time, people are perfectly happy with the gifts they receive and don’t equate them with dollar signs.  Over-commercialization can be another reason for feeling blue.  Every year, we see the commercials about the brand new luxury car in the driveway, with a big, red ribbon on it!  Let’s get real, folks!  I know they want to sell cars, but I can’t help but think about families who don’t have a home or a job, or may be living in their cars. 

Please use some of these tips to help someone you know that may be struggling with the holidays:

  • Find some activities that are free, and take them out for an afternoon of just “window shopping” or treat them to a funny movie.
  • Take your lunch break together, and listen, if they just want to talk.
  • Volunteering is a great way to help and get to know others, and may be just “what the doctor ordered” to get him/her involved with something different.
  • Encourage them to look to the future with optimism.
  • Trying a new activity just might be the thing to make one feel better.
  • Suggest getting in touch with old friends or family members.
  • Enjoy the present.
  • Spend time with caring and supportive people. 

You are very blessed if you haven’t hit a low spot at one time or another in your lifetime.  For those who seem to be in that low spot most of the time, there is help.  If a person’s work is affected, if they are present in body but not spirit, if they show signs of fatigue or stress, we need to be their advocates.  We need to encourage them to seek professional guidance, in order to get better.  (They need to know they can get better!)  Many companies offer counseling for their employees, and want to help them cope.  They know that if their employees are in better mental and physical condition, there will be less risk of workplace injuries.  We all know the chance for accidents is greater when we feel fatigued or “just not ourselves.” 

Too many times we are so wrapped up in our own job, that we overlook someone who needs help but may be too proud to ask for it.  Don’t let anyone have a “Blue Christmas” without you.  Be there for your family, coworkers, and friends.  You may need a lift someday, too.


Right now you are thinking. “So, work and fatigue don’t mix, but my work tires me every day!”  Or do you get tired of your work?  Our mental outlook on our occupation plays a large part in how our bodies react to the demands of our jobs.  You certainly wouldn’t want to meet a drowsy driver on the road because he has driven too many hours.  Would you want a surgeon to operate on you if he’s already been in the operating room for several hours?  I want mine scheduled for the first thing in the morning!  If we have a good attitude about the work we plan to perform each day, we will see better results, and look forward to the next day.  Think positive thoughts.

There are many factors that play into workplace fatigue, such as:

  • Sleep-deprivation;
  • Lonely, boring jobs;
  • Shifts that are too long;
  • Demands to work extra shifts;
  • Dissatisfaction with job;
  • Heavy work loads;
  • Stress.

Studies have shown that because of workers’ lack of sleep, the costs of lost productivity range in the $350 billions-worldwide annually.  The best habit for anyone is to get 7.5 or 8.5 hours of sleep per night.  Persons who work night shifts have more difficulty adjusting to different sleep patterns and sometimes suffer from fatigue at work, even going to sleep on the job.

Employers should ensure that the workplace doesn’t promote fatigue.  One way to succeed is to require shorter shifts or change to rotating shifts, eliminate repetitive jobs by varying job duties, and train workers on how to get enough rest.  While on breaks, workers could try playing a quick game, or planning their next get-away, instead of thinking about their work duties.
Fatigue can cause poor judgment, lack of concentration, poor communication skills, less productivity, and the ability to do complex jobs.  Tired workers experience slower reaction time, loss of memory, the ability to recall details, and may take risks, which could lead to everyone being in harm’s way.  Most jobs require our complete attention, such as heavy equipment operators, handling dangerous chemicals, using sharp instruments, driving vehicles, taking care of patients; the list could go on and on.

If one always feels tired or depressed, it would be best to see his/her doctor, to be sure there isn’t a medical reason for their fatigue, at home and work.  Everyone can stay strong by eating healthy, avoiding junk and fatty foods, doing the right exercise regularly, and getting enough sleep.

So, don’t be “sick and tired of being sick and tired!”  It’s up to you to do something about it.

Try starting with A for Attitude.