The latest figures from the US Bureau of Labor show that fatal work-related injuries rose slightly to 5,250 in recent years. Some jobs are intrinsically more dangerous than others, but regardless of the work environment, several recent studies have shown how tiredness and disrupted sleep can result in an increase in accidents. In a time of crisis, essential workers are under pressure to work long hours and take on extra shifts. However, in any work situation, as well as taking care of business practices by hiring dependable workers, employers also have a duty to ensure their staff is not exhausted from excessive hours of work.
Table of Contents
Working Long Hours
Working long and irregular hours can be hazardous for workers and the risk of injury increases by 37% during 12-hour shifts. Although the Fair Labor Standards Act places no limit on the number of hours worked, the Occupational Safety and Health Act requires that employers provide work free from serious hazards. Ideally, this should include recognizing when employees are seriously fatigued at work, in order to protect the safety of the whole workforce. When an accident does occur, it can be detrimental to business and devastating for the individuals involved. However, with the help of a personal injury lawyer, the legal side of things can be easily addressed, which in turn can lessen the burden of an already hard situation for all parties involved.
Disruptions To Sleep
As they are required to work longer hours and take on shift work often at short notice, it’s not surprising that nearly 70% of workers, according to the National Safety Council, report feeling tired on the job.. Some workers who experience the specific sleep conditions of obstructive sleep apnea or excessive daytime sleepiness are twice as likely to have an accident at work. Another sleep-related factor that increases the risk of workplace injuries has the potential to affect all employees. In the US, when the clocks recently switched to Daylight Saving Time, workers lost an hour’s sleep. Studies have revealed a link between the time change and a greater occurrence of illness and accidents on the following day, showing that just the smallest disruption to normal sleep patterns can have a catastrophic effect.
Even in a physically safe environment, the risk of accident and injury at work is increased if employees are tired. Being aware of the dangers of overwork and exhaustion can help to ensure that adequate rest periods are included in work schedules and exposure to hazards is reduced.