A poll completed by the National Sleep Foundation found that most Americans agree their work performance is impaired greatly when they don’t get adequate sleep – putting them at higher risk for workplace injuries, accidents, and health problems. Industry experts estimate that fatigue in the workplace costs at least $77 billion annually.
Shiftworkers are two times more likely than the average American to experience sleep apnea – a condition characterized by constantly interrupted sleep, pauses in breathing while sleeping, and loud snoring. Sleep apnea causes fatigue since the individual isn’t able to get enough sleep, and has been directly linked to higher workplace injuries and accidents.
Not only is fatigue causing workplace injuries, but it’s also estimated to be the cause of about 25% of all highway accidents. As people work longer hours, the number of accidents on the roads caused by fatigue increase.
According to the National Sleep Foundation poll, most people support regulation of the number of hours worked by employees in certain demanding professions, like pilots, doctors and truck drivers. In many states, legislation already limits work hours for doctors and nurses, and the trucking, aviation, motorcoach and rail industries are debated under federal government efforts for regulating hours-of-service. There are court cases which hold the companies liable for an employee who has suffered workplace injuries due to fatigue, which is beginning to put pressure on companies to proactively reduce the chronic levels of drowsiness of the employees at work. Some tips for reducing risks from fatigue in the workplace include:
- Evaluating schedules to create less fatiguing hours for higher levels of safety and performance
- Training for employees on work/home balance and reducing risks associated with becoming overworked and overtired
- Health and safety assessments of employees for safety control programs and risk management (measuring levels of employee fatigue while on-duty).
Markhoff & Mittman has successfully handled New York workers disability and helping workers injured on the job for nearly seventy-five years. If you need assistance getting the medical attention and financial recovery from workplace injury, contact us today.