Fatiga en marinos

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Downloaded from oem.bmjjournals.com on 1 April 2005

Fatigue at work
F J H van Dijk and G M H Swaen Occup. Environ. Med. 2003;60;1-2 doi:10.1136/oem.60.suppl_1.i1

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EDITORIAL
Supplement on fatigue at work
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i1

Fatigue at work
F J H van Dijk, G M H Swaen...................................................................................

Understanding how acute and chronic fatigue have an adverse impact on the health of workers
atigue is a common complaint in the working population. Approximately 20% of the working population report symptoms that fall under the concept of fatigue.1 Other surveys have reported prevalence rates of fatigue varying from 7% to 45%, depending on the instruments used andthe applied cut off points.2 At first sight, the presence of fatigue in a working population does not give much reason for concern from an occupational health perspective. After work has been done, some fatigue may be expected and this fatigue is compensated for by social and financial rewards. Occupational health interest in fatigue arises from the adverse consequences that are attributed tofatigue in the more serious acute or chronic forms, and when there is insufficient opportunity to for workers to recover. Bad performance, impaired quality of services and products, and dropout of personnel may be adverse consequences. For employees, feelings of professional incompetence, accidents, and fatigue’s disruptive effects on private social life are serious outcomes. An increased risk ofdepression, as well as infectious and cardiovascular diseases have been suggested. Effects may be so serious that workers can experience disability leading to long term or even indefinite absenteeism from work. Stress related disorders are labelled under quite a number of interrelated terms and definitions such as adjustment disorders, neurasthenia, nervous breakdown, surmenage, and burnout. Prolongedfatigue is one of the core symptoms, and stress related disorders are responsible for approximately 30% of permanent disability benefits in the Netherlands. In other countries, such as the UK, mental ill health is a growing concern as it is causing increased absenteeism and long term sickness.3 The Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) recognised the substantial public health significance ofthis topic and in 1996 funded the Priority Research Programme titled “Fatigue at Work”. Within this programme Dutch universities, various other institutes, and (occupational) health care institutions participated in multidisciplinary projects to acquire a better understanding of

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fatigue’s causes and consequences. Projects were included on acute fatigue during the working day as well asprojects on burnout and on work related adjustment disorders. All projects aimed at improving our understanding of the aetiology, course, and consequences for human functioning in acute and prolonged states of fatigue. A number of projects were oriented to concepts, aetiology, and prognosis, others were oriented to surveillance, diagnosis, therapy, or rehabilitation of workers after a period of...
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