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Lifestyle and safety

Lifestyle and safety

Everyone is entitled to make their own lifestyle choices outside of work hours. However, when those choices have the potential to affect your safety and productivity at work, it can become a problem that affects not only yourself, but also the other members of your work team.


Fatigue can be a serious safety problem if you’re doing a hazardous task while feeling exhausted or mentally drained. It also reduces your enjoyment of the job. The symptoms of fatigue include: drowsiness, headaches or dizziness, difficulty concentrating and blurred vision.

The simplest ways to overcome fatigue are to:

  • get a good night’s sleep before each work day

  • eat well, drink plenty of water and avoid unhealthy foods and drinks.

If you’re not sleeping properly for personal reasons, you should see your local doctor to talk about the issue. If you’re on the job and having trouble focusing, tell your supervisor and take a break. Don’t try to battle on and put everyone in your team at risk of getting hurt.


There are lots of things that can cause stress. Apart from problems at home, stress at work can be caused by being under pressure to get the job done quickly, having trouble getting along with the boss, coping with changes in your routine or feeling that your skills aren’t up to the task. Some of the symptoms of stress are: muscular tension, headaches or heart palpitations, and feeling depressed, anxious or cranky.

The best way to handle stress is to try to deal with the cause. Talk to your supervisor about the problem – or if they’re part of the problem, go to another manager or person in authority to ask for advice. Even if the solution can’t be found immediately, just having a plan of action and a pathway forward will help to relieve the anxiety.

Drugs and alcohol

Your company is already likely to have a strict policy in place relating to drugs and alcohol. In essence, you will not be permitted to work if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and there will be disciplinary procedures for breaching the policy.

Aside from illicit drugs, you also need to be mindful of the effect that prescription or ‘over the counter’ medications can have on your concentration and performance. It’s always best to phone in sick if you’re taking medication that’s clouding your mental alertness.