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What do we mean by Fatigue Management?

What do we mean by Fatigue?

Why do we have to Manage it?

Footballers, when playing a game, will usually end up fatigued.

They have to manage the fatigue and how tired their body gets, so that they play an optimum game, physically.

At the end of the day, after a normal game of football (or any other sport), the player’s body will be fine physically and they should be fine mentally, especially if they won the match.  Their manager is unlikely to be worried about them as far as long-term stress issues are concerned.

I guess everyone appreciates that lots of exercise will cause their body to experience physical fatigue and in some cases tiredness of the body but not usually tiredness associated with sleep deprivation.  I suggest that in most cases physical exercise is unlikely to cause stress or mental fatigue.

So, in most situations and for the vast number of jobs, it is not physical fatigue that can cause health problems for employees but stress-related mental fatigue.  Stress can be caused by all sorts of pressure, some of which are common to most job situations and others that will be job-specific.

For example; too heavy a workload, undefined hours of work and break times, incorrect tools for the job, uncomfortable working environment, lack of information of all different types, lack of support from managers, lack of adequate training, additional responsibility without extra training, bullying, cctv overload (spying), lack of job security or threats of dismissal for all sorts of reasons.  The list is probably endless, depending on the person, the employer and the specific job requirements.

Whatever the cause, it is in a managers best interests to eliminate as much as is humanly possible, viable or ultimately, acceptable; anything and everything that causes stress and can be eliminated.  Easy to say and it has been said by vast numbers of employers for decades, but usually not so easy to achieve.

In a high number of cases though, the resolution solutions have not even been introduced in the first place to see if they will have any positive effect.  The fact is that most of them will, if only employers would ‘put their money where their mouth is’, to quote a well-known saying.

Back in my day, 50 years ago, when I was a manager in the health service in charge of blue-collar workers, back-ache was the curse of my life.  It could not be seen physically and was a major reason for absenteeism.  I don’t remember anyone being off work with stress.  Fast forward to today and I wonder how many cases of back-ache are now used as an excuse for illness?  It would seem that stress-related illnesses have taken over as a major reason.  If I was cynical and unethical, I would suggest reduced absenteeism should be reason enough for management to try to rectify the situation, accepting the health benefits for the employee as a bonus.  I jest of course but would not be surprised if that was the motivating factor in certain situations where employers have decided to put some effort into implementing ways of managing, or better still avoiding, stress-related processes and procedures for their employees.

JHL MBE SSL Co. Chairman