It is common for people to make jokes or excuses about how little sleep they get each night, but job-related injuries due to fatigue are no laughing matter. Failing to get a good night’s rest can result in serious accidents at work.
According to the CDC, a broad description of fatigue is feelings of tiredness, weariness or a lack of energy. In the workplace, fatigue can occur from an irregular schedule, extended work hours or a night shift.
The cost of workplace fatigue
Workplace fatigue results in lost productivity, to the tune of $1,200 to $3,100 per employee each year. As a whole, employers across the nation lose nearly $136 billion annually because of health-related production drops. Those who work night shifts, irregular shifts or long shifts are at a higher risk for sleep deprivation, although workplace factors like stress, demanding tasks or hot environments contribute to fatigue developing during each shift. When fatigue is present, the risk of safety concerns increases.
The safety concerns with workplace fatigue
Many times, employees are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault. However, many employees could contribute to these accidents by operating equipment, driving or performing tasks while fatigued. Fatigue can:
- Impair judgment
- Reduce concentration
- Cause cognitive delays and processing times
- Reduce reaction times
- Cause migraines or blurred vision
- Limit short-term memory and retention
Although there are laws in place that limit arriving to work while under the influence, losing two hours of sleep at night is the equivalent of consuming three beers. Few individuals realize the significant impact fatigue has on workplace accidents and injuries.