Chapter 1 - Introduction

Being tired at work can be just as dangerous as taking alcohol or drugs. You can lose concentration, misjudge speed and distance, react more slowly - you might even fall asleep. Being tired can also make you moody and irritable, and can cause you to take risks. Any one of these problems could put you and other people in danger.

When you work shifts, you're bound to feel tired sometimes. You're out of step with your body's natural sleeping and waking rhythms. This booklet gives you an overview of the risks associated with fatigue, and offers some strategies to help you manage the effects of fatigue at work and make sure you get the rest you need to be fit for duty.

Fatigue is widely recognized as a significant safety hazard, not just to you and your coworkers, but to the general public. That's why Transport Canada commissioned a set of tools and guidelines to help the Canadian aviation industry set up fatigue risk management systems.

Fatigue risk management systems recognize that it's everyone's responsibility to manage fatigue risk. Employers should make sure that work schedules give employees adequate opportunities for rest between shifts. In turn, employees are responsible for making sure they use those opportunities to get the sleep they need to be fit for work.

An important part of any fatigue risk management system involves teaching employees and managers about fatigue as a safety hazard and how to better manage their own fatigue. This booklet can be used as an introduction to the more detailed, competency-based training workbook called Fatigue Management Strategies for Employees (TP 14573E).

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