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Work Health and Safety Blog

There's so much happening in the world of health & safety. Changes in legislation and requirements, changes in best practice, changes in ... you name it. Here's my take on making it simple. Simply Genius WHS - stop guessing... manage with confidence.

Mini breaks help reduce fatigue in the workplace

Maralyn Kastel - Sunday, October 09, 2011

One of the hazards in working at a desk for long periods is the risk of fatigue, and with this comes mistakes, stress, muscle and eye strain.  Make sure you talk with your workers on how you can reduce and minimise the risks of fatigue in the workplace.

To reduce the risk of fatigue, it is important to take mini-breaks (not many breaks) throughout the day. If possible, change tasks at least once every two hours. Stretch your arms, neck, and legs often if you do the same type of work for long periods of time. Rest your eyes often by closing them or looking at something other than the work at hand. For a quick pick-me-up, breathe deeply several times by inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. In addition, always try to eat your lunch somewhere other than your desk.

Do some fatigue relieving exercises at your desk such as:

Head and neck stretch:
Slowly turn your head to the left, and hold it for three seconds. Slowly turn your head to the right, and hold it for three seconds. Drop your chin gently towards your chest, and then tilt it back as far as you can. Repeat these steps five to ten times.

Shoulder roll:
Roll your shoulders forward and then backward using a circular motion.

Upper back stretch:
Grasp one arm below the elbow and pull gently towards the other shoulder. Hold this position for five seconds and then repeat with the other arm.
Wrist wave:
With your arms extended in front of you, raise and lower your hands several times. 

Finger stretch:
Make fists with your hands and hold tight for one second, then spread your fingers wide for five seconds.

Remember that fatigue management is a health & safety issues that needs to be managed in the same way that as a physical hazard - with risk controls to reduce the risk.

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