More than two-thirds of employees in the United States admit being at risk of one of the most overlooked and dangerous workplace hazards facing workers today. That hazard is fatigue. According to a study published late last year by the National Safety Council, 97 percent of employers surveyed noticed an impact on productivity and an increase in accidents caused by employees being tired at work. Fatigue is especially hazardous for workers in high-risk occupations likes construction, law enforcement, and trucking.
Fatigue impacts a worker’s ability to perform their job in numerous ways:
- Diminished motor skills: One study found that workers going up to 17 to 19 hours without sleep are affected in the same way as a person under the influence of alcohol. Timing and accuracy of motions is impacted, which is problematic for workers operating vehicles, heavy equipment, and machinery.
- Poor stress management: Overtired employees react poorly to stressful experiences and have imbalanced moods. Personal problems and the toll they take on sleep and emotional well-being are a leading cause of serious and fatal industrial accidents.
- Reduced productivity: Beside the risks to work safety, fatigue also has a real practical consequence: low productivity. It may seem counterintuitive, but as employee shifts get longer, productivity suffers.
- Compromised cognitive function: Memory, information processing, and problem-solving all suffer when workers do not get enough rest. Fatigue clouds thinking and interferes with sound decision-making.
- Chronic health problems: Poor sleep has been linked to a host of health and wellness conditions including heart disease, digestion issues, emotional problems, and some cancers. Fatigue compromises the immune system, leaving workers vulnerable to highly contagious viruses including influenza.
The most obvious risk facing fatigued workers is falling asleep on the job. In some professions, this may not necessarily be dangerous. But if the tired worker is behind the wheel of a commercial tractor trailer or working on a scaffold stationed several feet off the ground, dozing off can have catastrophic consequences.
Tips for Preventing Fatigue Accidents at Work
Getting plenty of sleep not only helps workers stay safe on the job, it has a positive impact on every aspect of their daily lives. There are simple things you can do to ensure you are getting enough rest. Start by maintaining a consistent bedtime and winding down an hour before you turn in. Make your sleeping space dark, cool, and quiet. Turn off electronics about an hour before bed and use earplugs and an eye mask to prevent any disruptions while you rest.
It is not always easy to make sleep a priority, but it is important. Sufficient sleep improves our moods, our emotional and physical well-being, and even our work. Know the signs of fatigue and take a break if you need to. Do not let your lack of sleep put the lives of you and your coworkers in danger.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Protect Injured Workers and Their Claims
Attorneys at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. have worked with many clients impacted by fatigue-related work accidents and other job injuries and illnesses. Put their experience to work for you. If you have been injured at work by a tired or negligent worker, you can pursue compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages through the workers’ compensation system. Your dedicated Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer will review every detail of your case to support your claim and help you receive the benefits you deserve. We advocate for you if you receive less than you believe you deserve, or if your claim is denied.
Call 888-999-1962 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation in our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or Cherry Hill, New Jersey locations. Freedman & Lorry, P.C. also represent clients throughout the state of North Carolina from our Pinehurst office.