February 9, 2024 | Susan Napier-Sewell

Friday Joke: Are You Fatigued?


How can you tell when you are fatigued, really?

Work, work, and more work — do we even have to ask, “Why are you fatigued?” or “What are you doing about being fatigued?” or “Are you the only one who has noticed how fatigued you are?”

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Beneath the humor about being exhausted is the root cause analysis, the core of why you’re fatigued.

System Improvements’ President Mark Paradies, also co-creator of the TapRooT® System, tells us in his post, “Investigating Accidents with Fatigue as a Cause,” that “In the TapRooT® System, fatigue is not by itself a root cause. But fatigue is a part of two root causes.

“First, under Work Direction – Selection of Worker: fatigued is one of the possible choices. In other words, the supervisor or manager assigned someone to do the work when they should have been able to tell that they were too exhausted and thus, too error-prone to perform the work.

“The Root Cause Tree® Diagram and Dictionary are included with our books and courses.

“The Root Cause Tree® Dictionary asks you to consider excessive overtime, working a second job, and other factors that could cause a worker to be obviously fatigued. The dictionary has questions about regulations about work hours, microsleeps, and automatic behavior syndrome as clues to the fatigue level of the worker. All these make determining the ‘fatigued’ root cause more justifiable.

“Note in the dictionary under ‘fatigued‘ root cause also point to the ‘scheduling NI‘ root cause in the case that poor scheduling of work could lead to fatigue. Also, if the supervisor assigned someone to perform the work that violated company policies about limits on overtime, the dictionary asks the investigator to consider the Management System-related near root cause of Standards, Policies, and Administrative Controls (SPAC) Not Used.

“The other Basic Cause Category that includes being fatigued as part of the evaluation is the root cause under the Human Engineering – Human-Machine Interface: monitoring alertness NI.

“This root cause looks for boredom or loss of alertness while monitoring a fairly stable indicator. This phenomenon is sometimes called the ‘vigilance decrement.’ The dictionary provides ideas to evaluate if the human was lulled into a state where detecting a change in an indication was unlikely.”

Circumstances can crop up anywhere at any time if proper and safe sequence and procedures are not planned and followed. We encourage you to learn and use the TapRooT® System to find and fix problems.

TapRooT® has a team of investigators and instructors with years of extensive training ready to offer assistance worldwide. We also offer ongoing support to our clients through free newsletters and root cause tip videos, the root cause analysis blog, and our annual Global TapRooT® Summit.

Register for one of our TapRooT® courses. We offer a basic 2-day course and an advanced 5-day course.

Contact us to discuss training your employees on-site. You may also call us at 865.539.2139 to speak to an instructor, schedule an executive briefing, or book on-site training for your team. We’re here to find solutions for you.

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