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Locking Out Decision Fatigue

The cover of Safety Decision's Winter/Spring 2016 magazine featuring a Beyond Compliance column by SafeStart's Marketing Manager Ray Prest

Could decision fatigue be the reason behind some human factors incidents in your workplace?

As Ray Prest explains in his latest article in the Winter/Spring 2016 issue of Safety Decisions magazine, decision fatigue plays a huge role in how well workers follow lockout/tagout procedures:

When workers are suffering from decision fatigue, they may be more likely to make an error in judgment, such as thinking they can get away with not locking machinery out “just this once” or taking a shortcut that they perceive is a lot less risky than it actually is. Ask yourself when most LOTO violations happen. I’m willing to bet that the vast majority occur at the latter half of a shift after employees have had to make a number of decisions that have depleted their mental reserves. Or perhaps they’ve had an ongoing struggle with a piece of equipment—they locked it out the first few times but at some point fatigue and complacency started to set in.

The article uses the lockout/tagout process as an example of one function within a safety program that can be compromised by fatigue, but the article provides valuable insight as to why all sorts of errors and injuries happen on the job.

To read “Locking Out Decision Fatigue” in full click here.

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