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Employers can do more to address workplace fatigue

National standard could help address issue: CSA Group


The Paramedic Association of Canada is currently working with CSA Group to develop a national standard on fatigue risk management for first responders. (Adobe Stock)

Professional burnout is affecting a wide range of jobs, workplaces and industries. And there is no standard definition or management practice in place to address this issue.

That’s the key finding from CSA Group’s latest research report Workplace Fatigue: Current Landscape and Future Considerations, released Nov. 20.

In 2019, the World Health Organization recognized burnout as a medical diagnosis. However, without a standard definition of what workplace fatigue means in Canada, it’s difficult to say how pervasive the problem is, according to a news release from CSA Group in Toronto.

“Our research has identified that there is certainly an opportunity for standards that address workplace fatigue to make a real and positive difference to workers in this country,” said Mary Cianchetti, president of standards at CSA Group.

“There is a need to support the management of workplace fatigue in Canada for the health and safety of Canadian workers.”

In some workplaces, the potential consequences of fatigue can be a matter of life and death, she said.

The Paramedic Association of Canada is currently working with CSA Group to develop a national standard on fatigue risk management for first responders, said Cianchetti.

“Paramedics do a job that can be gruelling — both physically and emotionally — and workplace fatigue is an issue we cannot ignore,” said Pierre Poirier, executive director of the national paramedic association.

“This research identifies that a gap does exist in Canada when it comes to how fatigue is being addressed in the workplace.”

In 2018, CSA Group introduced a psychological health and safety standard to address the specific needs of paramedic service organizations.

Currently-striking CN rail workers have drawn attention to the issue of fatigue in their line of work, citing it as one of the key reasons why their union has walked off the job.