Getting adequate sleep can help prevent injury and illness

Many of us live fast-paced lives, and our professional and personal demands can keep us in a tizzy. It’s easy to become fatigued—sometimes to the point that it affects work performance. The National Sleep Foundation indicates that sleep-related fatigue costs for U.S. businesses have been estimated at $150 billion a year for absenteeism, workplace accidents and lost productivity.

What causes worker fatigue?
Fatigue is the body’s signal that rest is needed. Too little, poor quality or interrupted sleep over a period of time can cause fatigue—and a demanding work schedule can lead to additional physical, mental and emotional stress.

How can fatigue affect worker safety and health?
Worker fatigue increases the risk of injury and illness. According to OSHA, accident and injury rates are 30 percent greater during night shifts when compared to day shifts, and working a 12-hour shift, as opposed to an 8-hour shift, is associated with a 37 percent increased risk of injury.

Worker fatigue can contribute to:

  • Loss of concentration and memory
  • Reduced alertness
  • Difficulty handling stress
  • Increased errors
  • Impaired decision-making and problem-solving abilities
  • Increased injuries

The cumulative effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders have also been associated with a wide range of health consequences, including a compromised immune system and increased risk of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, depression, heart attack and stroke.

How can you help control worker fatigue?

  • Make adjustments for staffing issues, such as workload, hours, understaffing and planned and unplanned absences.
  • Arrange schedules to allow for rest breaks and a regular sleep schedule.
  • Provide worker education and training on the hazards, symptoms and impact of sleep deprivation on physical and mental health.
  • Encourage a healthy diet, proper exercise and stress management strategies to minimize the adverse effects of fatigue.

Online safety training videos

Our insureds and agents have access to an extensive library of online safety training videos and supplemental materials. Click here to view this month’s recommended video, Fighting Fatigue in the Workplace. Insureds and agents can request login credentials by emailing SafetyResourceRequest@summitholdings.com. (Videos provided through Long Island Productions, Inc., dba Training Network NOW, a Summit Vendor)

Please contact your Summit loss prevention consultant if you have any questions.

Sources:
http://www.sleepcenterofgreaterpittsburgh.com/downloads/Sleep_Performance_the_Workplace.pdf
https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workerfatigue/index.html
https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workerfatigue/hazards.html
https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workerfatigue/prevention.html

The information presented in this publication is intended to provide guidance and is not intended as a legal interpretation of any federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations applicable to your business. The loss prevention information provided is intended only to assist policyholders of Summit managed insurers in the management of potential loss producing conditions involving their premises and/or operations based on generally accepted safe practices. In providing such information, Summit Consulting LLC does not warrant that all potential hazards or conditions have been evaluated or can be controlled. It is not intended as an offer to write insurance for such conditions or exposures. The liability of Summit Consulting LLC and its managed insurers is limited to the terms, limits and conditions of the insurance policies underwritten by any of them.