Fatigue: More than just tired

29th September 2022

SMART Safety Fatigue

Would you recognise the symptoms of fatigue? Being tired is an accepted part of the challenges of farming, but fatigue is more than that. When you are fatigued you can experience a range of symptoms that are not only physical. Fatigue impacts your productivity and mental health.


Recognising fatigue

The physical symptoms of fatigue

  • Headaches, dizziness, blurry vison
  • You may notice your reflexes are slower and you have aching muscles
  • Interrupted sleep patterns and insomnia

How you might feel with fatigue

  • You or others might notice you are irritable or short-tempered
  • You may feel tired or sleepy

How you might act with fatigue

  • Unable to concentrate
  • Slow reactions
  • You may have started avoiding social situations

Tips for coping with fatigue

Often the most difficult barrier to combating fatigue is recognising it. The good news is once you know you are struggling with fatigue there are lots of ways of preventing it.

Managing fatigue on the job

  • Share plans when working alone or remotely
  • Be open. Ask for help if tired and report any instances of fatigue 
  • Take rest seriously. Rest regularly in a safe space
  • Manage your environment to make it more comfortable, e.g. maintain good lighting, clean air, comfortable seating, if possible 
  • Share the responsibility of operating machinery and handling cattle. Swap jobs to stay alert
  • Mildly exercise before work to improve alertness

Three things to try off the job

  1. Sleep and rest - find a sleep pattern which works for you and document any sleep issues, try to rest even if you have trouble sleeping, make the environment suitable for the best sleep.
  2. Try relaxation techniques - read a book or a newspaper before bed, go for a walk, meet friends or spend some time with your family.
  3. Focus on your diet - hydrate regularly, avoid drinking too much caffeine, as coffee only helps temporarily, eat healthy snacks instead of chocolate, light meals at regular times are better than irregular heavy meals.