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Are you tired – or are you burnt out?

[fa icon="calendar"] 1/14/17 4:00 PM / by SAMTRAC



We all suffer from occupational stress to one degree or another. This manifests in a variety of ways and generally we are able to cope. But, occupational stress and strain can have a variety of effects. One notable example is burnout. This is both characterised by adverse psychological and physical effects. From a health and safety perspective, burnout won’t only severely affect you and your health, but there is a direct correlation between fatigue and an increase in workplace incidents and fatalities. Burnout in employees can only be detrimental to your workforce.


Today’s blog will focus on how to identify the tell-tale signs of burnout, and how to distinguish these from just being fatigued

So what is burnout?

Burnout refers to general exhaustion and a lack of interest or motivation for your work. If you don’t address the problem, it can cause physical and emotional collapse. Burnout generally follows the same series of steps:


Step #1: Strong ambition at the beginning of the job

Step #2: Overworking yourself

Step #3: Isolating yourself from friends and family

Step #4: Adverse negative effects on your personality

Step #5: Depression, emptiness, and physical/emotional collapse


Burnout does not involve contact with trauma, but occurs after a period of high workload. If you’re a high achiever burnout is one of those road hazards in life you really should be keeping a close eye out for, but sadly – often because of your ‘I can do everything’ personality – you rarely see it coming. Because high-achievers are often so passionate about what they do, they tend to ignore the fact that they're working exceptionally long hours, taking on exceedingly heavy workloads, and putting enormous pressure on themselves to excel, all of which make them ripe for burnout.




When in the throes of full-fledged burnout, you are no longer able to function effectively on a personal or professional level. However, burnout doesn't happen suddenly. You don't wake up one morning and all of a sudden ‘have burnout’. Its nature is much more insidious, creeping up over time like a slow leak, which makes it much harder to recognise. Still, our bodies and minds do give us warnings, and if you know what to look for, you can recognise them before it's too late.

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Topics: Risk in HSE, fatigue management



SAMTRAC International is the leading occupational health, safety and environment (HSE) management e-learning training course that provides students with the foundational and fundamental knowledge critical to occupational HSE management.

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