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Causes and Consequences of Occupational Fatigue

Meta-Analysis and Systems Model

Techera, Ulises MS; Hallowell, Matthew PhD; Stambaugh, Nathan BS; Littlejohn, Ray PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: October 2016 - Volume 58 - Issue 10 - p 961–973
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000837

Objective: The study objective was to statistically codify empirical occupational fatigue literature into a systems model depicting causal factors of fatigue; interrelationships among causal factors; outcomes of fatigue; and interrelationships among outcomes.

Methods: The objective was achieved via a comprehensive and systematic review of existing literature and the first statistical meta-analysis of occupational fatigue.

Results: The drivers of fatigue with the greatest effect sizes include sleep deprivation and work environment factors such as noise, vibration, and temperature. The most significant outcomes of fatigue include short-term cognitive and physical degradation and, to a lesser extent, error, injury, and illness.

Conclusions: Although there is a great deal of occupational fatigue literature, there is a dearth of replication and validations studies. Researchers are also encouraged to address knowledge gaps like the relationship between worker relationships and fatigue.

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder (Drs Techara, Hallowell, Stambaugh); and Lockheed Martin Engineering Management Program, UCB 428, Boulder, CO (Dr Littlejohn).

Address correspondence to: Matthew Hallowell, PhD, UCB 428, 1111 Engineering Drive, Boulder, CO 80309-0428 (

This project was funded by ELECTRI International under award 2014-03. ELECTRI International encourages free publishing of all research results and does not request review or approval before publication. This organization does not require formal acknowledgment.

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2016 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine