ASSP Foundation Releases Fatigue Report

"By setting parameters, we identified behavioral changes in how people conduct work over time," said Dr. Lora Cavuoto, the project's principal investigator. "Wearable technology can uncover precursors to larger problems and help establish safety interventions that may call for scheduled breaks, posture adjustments, or vitamin supplements that help the body."

The American Society of Safety Professionals Foundation has released a fatigue research report that demonstrates the value of wearable technology in the workplace, with the foundation also encouraging employers to make a New Year's resolution to monitor the fatigue levels of their workers in order to reduce injuries and increase productivity. The three-year study was led by Dr. Lora Cavuoto at the University at Buffalo and Dr. Fadel Megahed at the Farmer School of Business at Miami University of Ohio and involved researchers from Auburn University and the University of Dayton.

The study ended in December.

"Fatigue is a hidden danger in the workplace, but now we've tackled the measurement and modeling of fatigue through wearable sensors, incorporating big data analytics and safety engineering," said Cavuoto, principal investigator on the project. "Information is power, so knowing when, where, and how fatigue impacts worker safety is critical. You can't identify solutions until you pinpoint the problems."

Funded by the foundation, the research involved 25 participants wearing unobtrusive wrist, hip, and ankle sensors while completing three tasks commonly performed by manufacturing workers – assembly, stocking, and remaining in a static or flexed position. Each person worked in three-hour increments. The study demonstrated that meaningful safety data can be collected by an employer in a cost-effective manner without interfering with a worker's daily routine.

"By setting parameters, we identified behavioral changes in how people conduct work over time," said Cavuoto. "For example, we saw how workers performed the same task in the first hour as compared to the third hour, when fatigue became a factor. Wearable technology can uncover precursors to larger problems and help establish safety interventions that may call for scheduled breaks, posture adjustments, or vitamin supplements that help the body."

The researchers noted that ankles and feet, the lower back, and eyes were reported to be frequently affected body parts, and a lack of sleep, work stress, and shift schedules were leading selected causes for fatigue. To deal with fatigue, respondents reported they drink caffeinated beverages, stretch or do exercises, and talk with co-workers.

The fatigue research report is one of many research initiatives expected over the next several years in support of ASSP's goal to elevate occupational safety and health worldwide. A repository of the research papers and code resulting from the project is available at the team's ResearchGate project folder.

Download Center

  • The Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and in and outs. This guide is here to help!

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Thinking of getting an online safety training solution at work but not sure how to evaluate different solutions and find the one that's best for your company? Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • SDS Software Buyer's Guide

    Whether this is your first time shopping for online SDS software or you’re upgrading from a legacy solution, this guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that works best for you and your company.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Vector Solutions

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2021

    November December 2021

    Featuring:

    • GAS DETECTION
      How to Streamline Gas Detector Maintenance
    • OSHA TOP 10
      OSHA's Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for FY 2021
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      How PPE Can Help You Deal with the Harsh Condition of Winter
    • HEARING PROTECTION
      Tackling Hearing Protection in the Workplace
    View This Issue