Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep. Lack of sleep can affect your performance at work, which is especially dangerous when you get behind the wheel.
The benefits of strong leadership in the military are a bit different than they are in the corporate world. When CEOs lead by example, stockholders make money. And making money makes most people happy.
When military officers lead by example, soldiers go home safely. And sending people home safely at the end of a day’s work should be every business’ priority.
Chad Storlie was the type of leader soldiers looked up to. As an Army Reserves Special Forces officer, Storlie modeled the behavior he wanted his troops to practice, right down to the naps he took during combat operations.
“I would go and take naps whenever the opportunity presented itself,” Storlie recalled in an article that appeared in the June 11, 2015, edition of Advisen FPN. “As the leader, you have to set the example. You have to practice what you preach.”
For Storlie, that meant making sure his body and mind were rested and ready to react on a moment’s notice. Two decades of military service that included stops in Iraq, Bosnia and Korea taught him that fatigue breeds poor decisions. Poor decisions, in turn, get you or your fellow soldiers killed.
The same principle applies in the workplace.
Fatigue is about four times more likely to contribute to on-the-job impairment than drugs or alcohol, according to studies cited by the American Society of Safety Engineers. Furthermore, impaired employees are more likely to be involved in workplace accidents, especially when they get behind the wheel.
If you exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet and manage stress, you can ward off fatigue and its potential consequences.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that driver fatigue causes 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries each year. Many of those deaths and injuries happen when employees are driving on company business. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are consistently the leading cause of workplace fatalities across industries.
Employers looking to the reverse the trend typically turn to mandatory rest periods and limits on consecutive driving hours. Those are solid fundamentals of any fleet safety program, but don’t forget about another powerful, often-overlooked tool for combating fatigue: employee wellness.
Wellness programs prepare employees for the physical demands of their jobs. They also help ward off depression, obesity, diabetes and other factors that drain workers’ energy.
If you are among the thousands of small businesses that do not have a comprehensive employee wellness program, don’t worry. You can leverage a few basic wellness program components to fight fatigue in your workplace.
This is the first in a series of four posts showing how a commitment to wellness can help workers manage fatigue. In our next post, we’ll discuss how eating a balance, nutritious diet can deliver the energy you need to tackle your day.
More information on wellness
Worker health and safety are inseparable. Healthy workers tend to get injured less, and when they do get injured, they recover faster. For more information on the symbiotic relationship between health and safety, click on these links:
Why Wellness Matters in Workers’ Comp
10 Tips for Integrating Health and Safety
Worker Health and Safety: A Symbiotic Relationship
The Business Case for Employee Wellness Programs
3 Tips for a Healthier, Safer You
Make Wellness Part of Your Benefits Package
What’s Your Morning Routine?