Employee burnout is a hot topic these days, and for good reason: Studies indicate that burnout costs the energy industry $2.4 million every year. Companies that ignore worker fatigue do so at their peril.

A recent survey conducted by PennEnergy found that four factors contribute heavily to employee fatigue:

  • Number of hours worked per day,
  • Number of consecutive days worked without a 24-hour “off” period,
  • Total hours worked per week, and
  • Night work.

Managers, directors, and executives in the oil and gas industry were asked to list the major negative outcomes of worker fatigue. Overwhelmingly, they listed lost productivity as their number-one concern, followed by errors and omissions that led to quality issues and minor accidents. Worker fatigue causes 10 percent of lost productivity and 12 percent of quality issues overall, the study estimated.

Frontline managers are more likely to see the ways in which employee fatigue directly affects productivity, quality, and safety. The study found that managers were 40 percent more likely than executives to blame fatigue for these major problems.

Combating Worker Fatigue in the Energy Industry

The disconnect between what managers see when fatigued employees do their work and what executives believe to be happening in the workplace contributes heavily to a lack of effective policies for preventing or monitoring worker fatigue. The study indicated that three primary tools can help energy companies combat fatigue and enjoy greater productivity as a result:

  1. Attention to scheduling. According to the study, while nighttime shifts did contribute to fatigue, they were less damaging to productivity than working 20 hours per day or working 14 days without a day off.
  2. Monitoring fatigue. Fewer than 10 percent of energy companies have any program that allows them to monitor worker fatigue in real time. Companies that implement such a program gain an immediate edge over much of the competition when it comes to maximizing productivity.
  3. Controlling fatigue’s effects with internal guidelines. When fatigue is monitored, companies can implement policies to curtail its effects.

At FootBridge Energy Services, our recruiters specialize in connecting energy companies with the talent they need to thrive – and in helping companies create long-term plans to maximize productivity, retention, and morale. Contact us today to learn more.