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Working while fatigued or when out of phase with your circadian cycle is common in high-reliability industries, as well as military operations. Fatigue has been implicated in many accidents and is recognised to have a detrimental effect on safety and performance. this chapter has outlined the effects of fatigue on human performance and identified strategies that can be taken by organisations, and individuals, to reduce or cope with levels of fatigue and decrease the time taken to synchronise your circadian rhythm with a new work schedule.

Key points

  • • Fatigue is difficult to define and quantify.
  • • fatigue has implications for both the safety and productivity of workers.
  • • fatigue has detrimental effects on cognitive performance, motor skills, communication and social skills.
  • • There are five stages of sleep that are cycled through during a normal period of sleep.
  • • Shift working schedules can be designed to improve the performance of workers and decrease the amount of time it takes to adapt to a different shift.
  • • Measures can be taken at organisational and individual levels to reduce fatigue and decrease the time taken for workers to adapt to a different work schedule.
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