Advice for workers

This handy pamphlet is for workers to learn how to manage the risk of fatigue at work and at home.

Fatigue pamphlet for workers (A4 size) (PDF 8.1 MB)

Fatigue pamphlet for workers (A5 size) (PDF 1.3 MB)

In 2016*

43% of workers said they worked when overtired ‘from time to time’ or ‘a lot’

24% of businesses said their workers worked when overtired ‘from time to time’ or ‘a lot’

*Health and Safety Attitudes and Behaviours Survey in the New Zealand Workforce 2016.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015:

  • You have to take reasonable care of your own health and safety, and make sure that the things you do don’t affect the health and safety of yourself or others.
  • You have to follow any reasonable instructions on how to work in a safe and healthy way.
  • Your business must manage the risk of fatigue at work.
  • You have the right to stop unsafe work.

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is more than just feeling tired. When we are fatigued, our mental and physical functioning is affected in lots of different ways, which can make it hard for us to work safely. 

What does fatigue look like?

Some examples are:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Making lots of mistakes
  • Hard to talk normally
  • Harder to make safe choices
  • Slow reaction times
  • Mood swings

What can happen if someone is fatigued?

  • Can make it difficult for the person to work safely
  • Can put the person, and others around them, in danger

Why can fatigue happen?

Some examples are:

  • Not getting enough sleep, or having sleep disrupted a lot
  • Long or changeable work hours
  • Physically or mentally hard work
  • Very hot or very cold working environments
  • Stress

If you are fatigued at work, your safety and the safety of others could be at risk.

Worker engagement and participation

[image] worker engagement and participation - workers should be engaged about risks at work.

Your manager has to engage with you when they are making decisions about managing the risk of fatigue at your work, because it is a health and safety matter that directly affects you.

Give ideas to your manager about how to manage the risk of fatigue at work, because you know what happens at work every day.

If you feel fatigued, or if something goes wrong at work because of fatigue, use the systems in place to report your concerns. You can also talk to your Health and Safety Representative or union.

Give useful information to your manager so they can use your ideas to help them manage the risk of fatigue at your work.

For more information to assist you in managing the risk of fatigue at work, see:

Ways to reduce the risk of fatigue at work

There are lots of ways you can reduce the risk of fatigue at your work.

Some examples are: 

  • Take all of your breaks. Drink plenty of water and eat healthy food. 
  • Think about how working overtime could affect you. 
  • If very tired, take a short nap (15-20 mins) before driving. 
  • If you feel too tired to work safely, tell your manager, Health and Safety Representative or union. 
  • If you feel too tired to travel to and from work safely, tell your manager, Health and Safety Representative or union

Ways to reduce the risk of fatigue at home

It is also important to think about what you can do at home, to reduce your risk of being fatigued at work.

Some examples of ways you can do this are:

  • See your doctor if you're having trouble sleeping. 
  • Remove any distractions from your sleeping area.
  • Rest and relax during your time off. 
  • Get a good quality sleep before work. Aim for 7-9 hours. 
  • Talk to the people you live with about how they can help you.