How worker fatigue impacts your risk of an on-the-job injury

A recent study, a collaboration between the Safety Engineers Society of America and the University of Buffalo, suggests that too little attention is being placed on worker fatigue when it comes to on-the-job safety training.

Researchers first began looking into worker fatigue, and the risk factors associated with it, in August of 2015. They began by conducting surveys aimed at understanding a workers' perception of fatigue and their ability to recognize it during their workday.

They've also found that many employers spend very little time warning about the risks of fatigue on the job because it's too difficult to determine when it sets in. Researchers note that fall risks, for example are much more obvious than the subtle fatigue is. They concluded that workers may not actually understand just how crippling their fatigue is until it's greatly impaired their judgment.

An Aeroflow Healthcare, Inc.study previously showed that workers that get as little as four or five hours of sleep per night experience impairment equivalent to someone with a .08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). A .08 BAC is representative of illegal intoxication in most states.

A recent National Safety Council (NSC) survey of 2,000 workers from across various industries sought to gain a better understanding of the impact of fatigue on workers in the United States.

Among the 2,000 respondents, 43 percent admitted to not getting adequate sleep on a daily basis. Another 27 percent reported having dozed off at work. At least 16 percent also reported having fallen asleep while on the road. The researchers note that many of these respondents work in safety-intensive jobs. These are the individuals most susceptible to being injured on the job.

Workers who held demanding jobs, worked long shift or those drove long distances to get to work were found to be most likely to become involved in an on-the-job accident.

If you've been seriously injured while at work, then you may be entitled to compensation for both your current and future medical expenses as well as lost wages. In learning more about your case, a Dauphin, Pennsylvania, workers' compensation attorney can advise you of your right to file a claim in your legal matter.

Source: Business Insurance, "Tired workers increase safety risks," Louise Esola, accessed Oct. 31, 2017

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