Employee Fatigue Can Cost Millions

A survey commissioned by workforce management solutions provider Kronos Inc. reveals that employee fatigue causes energy organizations to lose $87,000–$2.4 million per year on average, depending on company size. The survey also uncovers that working a 20-hour day or 14 days in a row is more likely to cause fatigue than working mostly night shifts.

“The Effects of Employee Fatigue and its Management in the Energy Industry” surveyed frontline managers, directors and corporate-level executives across the energy industry, revealing top influences and effects of employee fatigue; it also showed how companies are managing it. Top influences include number of hours worked per day, number of consecutive days worked, total hours worked in a week, and night shifts.

Survey respondents rank productivity losses, quality issues and minor accidents as the top three effects of employee fatigue. According to the survey, fatigue causes 10 percent of lost productivity and 12 percent of quality issues in the energy sector. Absenteeism, increased healthcare costs, and major accidents can be other consequences.

Respondents who believe their companies have effective internal fatigue guidelines also believe that fatigue causes fewer production problems. However, 57 percent of all respondents report that their company does not have, or they are not aware of, internal guidelines for managing fatigue. 

“Finding and producing energy is a 24/7 business, naturally leading to high employee fatigue levels, and this survey confirms that the industry recognizes the causes and impacts of fatigue,” said Charlie DeWitt, vice president, business development, Kronos. 

Without a system to manage fatigue, it can only be assessed retrospectively, limiting prevention, DeWitt said.

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