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Fatigue and workplace health and safety management

Essay question:

Fatigue arises from many factors including worker behaviour but a systems approach to explaining adverse events emphasises managers’ responsibility for managing the risk of fatigue.  Write an essay that, firstly, considers the role that fatigue can play in active failures, and secondly, explains why the ‘blame the victim’ ideology should be rejected in favour of ‘blame the system’ approach. The essay may refer to studies of disasters such as the BP Texas City oil refinery disaster and/or research around long-working hours and shift-work that affects truck-drivers and nurses.



 The term fatigue is omnipresent in the organizational premises since the employees appear always involved in several tasks, which is meticulous and toilsome. Fatigue can be considered as an integral factor in the any organization that might lead to severe hazards in terms of productivity. Thus, the line manager associated with several other executives in any organization to consider this integral factor of fatigue as a potent origin of risks in order to devise the strategy of mitigating it. In the organizational premises, it has been observed that line managers and several other executive officers of the unit seem to emphasize the notion of fatigue in order to ensure seamless flow of work. As fatigue can play active roles to encourages failure in the workplace, it is evident that the organizations seem to blame the victim for their decline in productivity. In this regard, this trend needs to be eliminated by promoting the “blame the system” ideology, about which, this study appear dedicated to reflect. Apart from that, this study is also obliged to evaluate the role of fatigue in the organizational premises in order to recommend the line managers with prudent organizational remedies. 

Role of fatigue

Apart from the international labour law those doctrines that working for more than 8 hours is blatant violation of the employee ethics, it has been extensively seen that, in this corporate world crammed with money and lust, employees are obliged to work for extra hours in order to earn a little more money. In this regard, the notion of sleep deprivation evoked out of them whose consequences seem to impart a significant impact on the absolute productivity of the organization. This tangible lack of sleep paves the academic studies to the threshold of a statistic that suggests that most of the employees have been able to sleep more than six hours (Hopkins, 2012). These surplus requirements of sleep seem to pave the employees towards the notions of less productivity, declined ability to cope with workplace pressure, damaged cognitive function and an evident lack of energy. In this regard, the infographic form provided by Pulse Institute can be recalled where they have tangible demonstrated the likely consequences of this accumulation of sleep while attempting to redefine the term fatigue (Hopkins, 2012). The potential aftermaths can be categorized as follows;

  • 23% reduction in concentration
  • 18% reduction in memory function
  • 9% increase intricacy while performing volunteer works (Hopkins, 2012)

Moreover, fatigued workers own the most vulnerability to contribute errors in the tasks assigned to them and in return, it must affect the overall organizational performance, bottom line and safety. 

In the current days; it is very rife in the corporate sectors of several organizations to incorporate the notions of performance shift which can be categorized as one of the major reasons of fatigue. The effect of shift structure in the employees seems to be transmitted in the overall performances of the institute. There exist several fecund medical accounts that exhibit the potential damage of cognitive function of the employees due to the shift structure and vehement emphasis on it (Hopkins, 2012). Though several organizational activists argued that fatigue can be mediating too, it has been extensively observed that this cause more harm as compared to the proclaimed notions of healing. When the employees emphasize on the fact that it is harmful instead of being meditative, several regulatory bodies seem to heed on the underlying aspects of fatigue as a harmful organizational axiom. 

It has been also discovered simultaneously that excessive stress might nudge the respective employee to booze, which, apart from causing severe health issues, might tarnish the organizational identity of the respective employee (Macky and  Boxall, 2008). Several medical accounts suggest most of the employees booze due to their stress from work. Subsequently, an advent of drunken driving has been experienced which might have lethal consequences and simultaneously appear potent enough to tarnish the professional identity of respective employee. It can be, thus, concluded that it is fatigue or workplace stress that cause these sorts of lethal incidents. 

In this regard, every exponent of the respective organization might heed on the aspect of workplace fatigue and might work on the prospective reduction of it in order to retain the reputation of the organization while ensuring massive productivity. 

Theoretical approach to the issue

It has been seen in the organizational premises that people that are the organizational representative, instead of acknowledging the fact of hectic work schedule, prone to blame the employee to be the sole responsible of causing a particular professional hazard (Hopkins, 2011). In this regard, it has been designated as ‘blame the victim’ module that has ill impacts as well in the well being of the organization.

The pursuit of the current enquiry seem to shift on the paradigm of psychological analysis as it requires psychological contemplation to delve deep into the reasons of organizational stress (Harley, Allen and  Sargent, 2007). From a psychological perspective, the major reasons of organizational stress can be highlighted as;

  • Quantitative Overload: It is very easy to comprehend that every workplace with corporate clamour can be characterized with repetitive work-flow coupled with time pressure. This axiom of mass production can be termed as one of the main reasons of work place stress.
  • Qualitative Workload: The major reasons that can be drawn into the paradigm of discussion typically consist of limited and one-sided content of work. Furthermore, every workplace can be categorized as being devoid of considerable variation of stimulus without any urge for creativity. These major problems can be associated with the constrained scope for social interaction. 
  • Role conflicts: This has been considered as one of the major reason to encourage organizational stress since it is an axiom for any exponent to be superior in somewhere else and inferior elsewhere (Hopkins, 2008). Conflicts which is very vulnerable to be evoked out of any little clash of organizational affairs, apart from disrupting the stress, it can cause major reasons of that can evoke organizational stress.
  • Lack of control: As stress causes severe damage of cognitive function, it is very likely for any employee to run out of control possessed out of stress. This, apart from affecting the organizational demeanour severely, can cause severe issues that might tarnish the reputation of organization (Macky and  Boxall, 2008). This, apart from the other issues, is caused by the lack of an proper organizational sequence.

Apart from the above-mentioned issues there are several physical stressors, the moot reason that lies between the apprehensions to identify the major issues that causes stress can be categorized with the notions of blaming the victim and blaming the system respectively. 

Blaming the victim can be cited as the trend of the line managers of any floor which is disrupted by any act of delinquency possessed by stress by the employee is to blame him/her. For instance, a employee out of stress might cause any disaster that can cater lethal health safety issues prior to the employee of the organization, the line manager act safe and drop the blame on the responsibilities of the employee. In this regard, fecund realizations suggest that they might seek justice to the alternative model of blame the system (Olds and  Clarke, 2010). This apart from endowing the blamed one with justice can attract regulatory attention of the emerging issues.

Blaming the system model seems to be constructed to empower the employees from false blames with the ability to endow them with transparent perspective regarding the issue. Apart from endowing justice to the respective employee, it is potential enough to draw regulatory attention to the emerging issues of job stress.    

Case studies related to the issue

The fatigue of workers is one of the significant problems in workplace premises. This is chiefly caused from high demand of works coupled with potential disruption of circadian rhythms. In this regard accumulative sleep debt is one of the common problems that organizations are supposed to be one of the major illness that the employees are inflicted with. As several fecund articles suggest, Fatigue is considered to be one of the major reasons which is caused by the dynamic workload of the everyday schedule while heeding on the aspects of workplace fatigue (Filtness and Naweed, 2017). For instance, several case studies can be evaluated in this regard where the employees have to stand on the verge of retention since he/she have committed a case of delinquency which appear disruptive in terms of organizational affairs. Moreover, the issues, which can be associated with job stress, seem to possess excessive psychological undertone since it is a matter of cumulative outburst. 

The first employment of FRMS (Fatigue Risk Management System) can be considered in this regard as the example of potent case study (Darwent et al, 2015). While conducting this kind of module, the researchers came to know that most of the cases of collapse regarding the notion of job stress can be categorized as it was emerging due to extensive job shifts. In this regard, they have arranged a mutual meeting with the potential employees of Texas oil company which seem to own the majority of the employees shattered due to excessive job stress (Olds and  Clarke, 2010). Several fecund discussions has been taken in this regard while heeding on the sakes of the both ends. 

In summary, it can be suggested that no universal solution or risk management module is not enough to tackle the consequences of organizational fatigue since it is almost an organizational axiom. On the other hand, individualizing every cases regarding organizational fatigue need to be treated individually in order to accomplish to a situation, this might act as helpful for both end.  


In the light of the above study, it can be concluded that, it is impossible to construct a perpetual or universal model to mitigate the risk of fatigue since it is almost an organizational axiom. On the other hand, it is imperative to mitigate the vulnerable risks emerging from the notions of job stress since it cause an adverse impact on the absolute productivity of the organization. In this regard, instead of framing the blame game, both ends of the party must coincide in a mutual platform in order to exchange the problems seamlessly. Moreover, each of the problems of the both end needed to be individualized and heeded identically in order to propose a sustainable solution. 

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