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12 Tips for Preventing Drowsy Driving and Fatigue
Waste 360 (http://www.waste360.com/safety/12-tips-preventing-drowsy-driving-and-fatigue)
Believe it or not, drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with being awake for more than 20 hours or having a 30 percent decrease on a fatigue score resulting in an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08, which is considered legally drunk in the U.S.
Drivers in the waste and recycling industry are especially at risk for experiencing fatigue and drowsy driving because they often work long hours and work outside of the typical work hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Part of the problem is that it’s hard to get your hands around drowsiness,” says National Waste & Recycling Association Safety Director Tony Hargis. “Many people don’t even realize that they are experiencing symptoms of drowsiness or common disorders like sleep apnea, and it’s important that we raise awareness around these issues and educate those in the industry so that our workers remain safe and aware both on and off the clock.”
This week is National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, and to raise awareness around the issue, Waste360 spoke with leaders of the industry’s two main associations, the National Waste & Recycling Association and the Solid Waste Association of North America, about how drivers in the waste and recycling industry can prevent drowsy driving and fatigue.
“Waste haulers and local governments need to make sure their drivers are sufficiently rested before they get behind the wheel,” says Solid Waste Association of North America CEO and Executive Director David Biderman. “This is particularly true for drivers who work overnight. Some employers should consider sleep apnea testing to make sure their drivers do not pose a risk to themselves or the communities they serve.”
Here are 12 tips for preventing drowsy driving and fatigue:
- Get a Good Night’s Rest – A good night’s rest can improve your productivity and focus and help you feel energized throughout the entire day.
- Take Regular Breaks – Keep your body and mind sharp by taking regular breaks throughout the day.
- Pull Over When Necessary – If you’re starting to notice signs of fatigue and sleepiness, such as trouble focusing, daydreaming, slower reaction time or feeling restless, pull over to the side of the road and take a moment to relax and reset.
- Stay Hydrated and Eat Well-Balanced Meals – Keep your body properly fueled throughout the day by drinking plenty of water and eating well-balanced meals. This will help boost your energy and keep you healthy.
- Travel with a Companion When Possible – Passengers can help look for early warning signs of fatigue or drowsiness, and serve has a second driver option if you become too tired or incapable of driving.
- Utilize Facial Recognition Technology – Facial recognition technology from companies like 3rd Eye Cam and Lytx can detect signs of drowsiness and issue warnings to the driver.
- Take a Power Nap – When needed, pull over and take a quick 15- to 20-minute power nap to recharge your body and mind.
- Report Your Condition to Your Supervisor and/or Physician – If you’re starting to experience symptoms of fatigue, speak to your physician and take a sleep apnea test if necessary. If you get diagnosed with sleep apnea or another disorder, alert your supervisor so he or she is aware of your condition and your needs.
- Avoid Scheduling Physically Demanding Work at the Start and End of Each Shift – Avoid scheduling or participating in physically demanding work tasks at the start or the end of your shift because these times have the highest rate of injury and accident due to fatigue.
- Schedule Work Around the Weather and the Environment – Supervisors should schedule work with consideration to the affects weather and environment have on productivity, workload and physical exertion. This helps keep everyone safe and alert both on and off the road.
- Ensure Coverage for Workers on Annual or Sick Leave – Supervisors should always have proper coverage for workers who are on annual or sick leave to avoid unnecessary overtime, which can cause fatigue and drowsiness.
- Manage Overtime Properly – Supervisors should manage overtime properly. If overtime is necessary, supervisors should plan ahead of time for the work so that workers can get adequate time off before coming back to work. Abiding by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s employee hours and overtime labor laws will help keep employees safe, well rested and healthy.
For additional Safety news and resources, please visit Waste 360 website (http://www.waste360.com/fleets-technology/safety)