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Last updated February 2024

This chapter explains what causes fatigue, how to recognise when a worker is fatigued, and how to manage fatigue-related risks in your workplace.

Health and safety obligations in relation to fatigue

Under health and safety legislation, you have an obligation to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the safety of your workers. Therefore, causing or permitting workers to perform work in a fatigued state could expose you to liability for breaching health and safety legislation.

Definition: Fatigue

Fatigue is an acute or ongoing state of tiredness that results in poor judgement, slower reaction times and reduced capacity to safely perform a task.
Tip: The Western Australian code of practice, Psychosocial hazards in the workplace, states that fatigue can be both a psychosocial hazard and the outcome of being exposed to psychosocial hazards, and it is a state of mental or physical exhaustion.
Important: Workers also have a responsibility to avoid putting themselves or others at risk from their work activities, including not performing work while fatigued.