GEG's Fatigue Management Workshop Helps Palmer Johnson Power Systems Reduce Fatigue in the Workplace
Where Minutes Count and Deadlines Cost
In October 2019, I had the pleasure of leading a Fatigue Risk Management workshop with Palmer Johnson Power Systems.
Let’s call them “PJ” for short.
PJ is a distributor in the machinery industry and specializes in servicing and supplying components for heavy-duty, off highway transmissions and axles.
“In the off-highway industry where minutes count and deadlines cost, our team delivers service excellence built on innovation, product expertise, urgency, and strong manufacturer partnerships. Our customers feel the passion in our people 24/7.”
– Palmer Johnson Power Systems Mission
Where Expertise and Urgency Meet Fatigue and Mistakes
In every industry, fatigue happens. Whether it’s boredom during a repetitive task, feeling mentally overwhelmed during an urgent customer issue, or sleepiness during a midnight service call, fatigue happens.
In my fatigue management workshop with PJ, we reviewed:
- Why fatigue matters
- How to quantify the severity of fatigue
- What safeguards to put in place so fatigue is less likely to hurt the employees or company as a whole
With 6 full-service branches across North America, PJ strives to make sure all employees have the data they need, when they need it.
But some employees each branch comes with its own dynamics and challenges.
- Some employees work off-hours while some work 9-5
- Some teams commute to work while others work from home
- Some branches experience a high volume of service calls while others have steady work streams
To be effective, PJ’s Fatigue Management Plan must work for all employees at all levels. It also has to be adaptable enough to work for all branches and all departments.
To be successful, fatigue training has to address current challenges as well as provide the framework for challenges yet to come.
Sleep Hygiene and Caffeine Habits
Caffeine habits are often overlooked in fatigue training programs. Improving health and alertness isn’t just about cutting back on caffeine. To truly understand all the ways caffeine affects employees mentally and physically, you need to understand more of the science behind caffeine.
During the fatigue workshop, representatives from different departments learned important ties between caffeine and employee health, including:
- Making sure caffeine doesn’t interfere with sleep
- How much caffeine is really in a cup of coffee
- Timing that first cup of coffee in the morning for best results
- When to skip the caffeine and try other methods to wake up
- Key differences between energy drinks, coffee, and tea
Fatigue Management Best Practices
In addition, fatigue workshop attendees also worked together to use the 5 Pillars of Fatigue Risk Management.
As a result of training and collaboration, PJ’s fatigue risk management program follows fatigue management best practices:
- PJ adjusts workload and staffing during their busy season.
- This minimizes the mistakes people make when feeling overwhelmed or rushed
- This also minimizes the risk of employee turnover and burnout
- They’ve reorganized their warehouse to optimize Workplace Design.
- By having the physical tools right where they’re needed, when they’re needed, employees spend less time and energy searching for what they need and more time getting work done
- PJ Department Leads have completed Employee Fatigue Training by completing the GEG Fatigue Management workshop
- Now every team knows how to spot the different warning signs of fatigue among their team and has a toolbox of strategies to address it
These best practices ensure every employee can be safe, alert, and productive even when fatigue is unavoidable. This leads to happier, healthier employees who spend fewer days struggling with caffeine side-effects or burnout.
Managing fatigue in the workplace should be an ongoing process of corrective action and preventive action. There are always improvements to be made and ways to adapt to changes in workload, technological advances, and workforce mentality.
Building a Fatigue Risk Management System doesn’t have to happen all at once; the most important thing isn’t to get it perfect, it’s to get started.
Need help designing your Fatigue Management Plan?