Everyone gets tired now and then. It’s usually due to temporary sleep deprivation or physical exertion. But some people suffer from unexplainable fatigue on a long-term basis. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a medical condition that causes extreme tiredness, which does not improve with rest. It can be a serious safety issue for professional drivers and individuals who must operate heavy machinery at work.
Thousands of deaths and countless injuries are caused by distracted drivers each year. Despite legislation aimed at curbing distracted driving, it’s still a problem that goes beyond highways and into work sites, including surface mining operations. It has been estimated that 65% of open pit accidents are related to fatigue and distraction.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome can help prevent such accidents.
Signs and symptoms
The primary symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is an extreme, relentless fatigue that affects a person’s ability to go about their daily life. The fatigue tends to get worse after physical or mental exertion. Other signs and symptoms include the following:
- Sore throat
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Loss of memory or concentration
- Unexplained joint or muscle pain
In addition, patients may wake up after a full night’s rest feeling fatigued and sluggish.
Causes and risk factors
It isn’t known exactly why some people develop chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s thought that some people may have a genetic predisposition to it, and that it may be triggered by any of the following problems:
- Viral infections
- Hormonal imbalances
- Immune system impairment
Chronic fatigue syndrome tends to affect more women than men, although it’s thought this may be because women might be more likely to report extreme fatigue to their doctors. Individuals in their 40s and 50s seem to be at a higher risk.
Treatments and accommodations
While there is no cure for this condition, medications and physical therapy may help manage the symptoms. In addition, truck drivers and individuals who operate heavy machinery may need to be evaluated by a doctor to determine if they can safely perform work activities. Accommodations could be necessary, such as driver alertness detection technology.
When it’s time to upgrade your company’s fatigue risk management strategies, turn to Hexagon for the solution. Our Operator Alertness System (OAS) is a fully integrated distraction detection platform that supports driver alertness and reduces safety hazards. For more information about how OAS can mitigate risk for your company, visit our update page.