Workplace fatigue isn't just the feeling of being tired; it's a much greater problem that is often difficult to detect. It affects just about every industry imaginable and often results in poor performance and serious accidents. It usually manifests as physical and mental exhaustion, diminished motivation, irritability, inability to focus, and even physical pain.
According to Safety + Health Magazine, roughly 38 percent of American workers get less than seven hours of sleep per night. Additionally, more than 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy. The overall loss in productivity while at work costs employers more than $138 billion per year. More importantly, fatigue is linked to an increased risk of on-the-job injuries.
Finding solutions to a growing problem
In response to the growing problem of workplace fatigue, the American Society for Safety Professionals (ASSP) Foundation is urging employers to start monitoring workers' levels of fatigue.
A three-year study led by Dr. Lora Cavuoto at the University of Buffalo and Dr. Fadel Megahed at the Farmer School of Business at Miami University of Ohio found that employers can determine workers' fatigue levels just by observing safety performance.
During the study, 25 participants were monitored through wrist, hip and ankle sensors. They performed three manufacturing tasks for three hours at a time: assembling, stocking, and staying in a static or flexed position. Cavuoto and Megahed documented changes in performance from the first to third hour. Fatigue commonly began to set in by the third hour.
According to Cavuoto, "Wearable technology can uncover precursors to larger problems and help establish safety interventions that may call for scheduled breaks, posture adjustments or vitamin supplements that help the body."
What to do if you were injured on the job due to fatigue
It's critical that employers offer adequate breaks and take other measures to reduce fatigue in the workplace. Injuries associated with workplace fatigue can be attributed to:
- Serious accidents: When fatigue starts to set in, workers are more likely to cut corners in performance and safety procedures. Serious accidents can involve falls from heights, accidents involving tools or machinery, trips, slip and falls, and incorrect lifting.
- Repetitive stress: Not all work-related injuries happen suddenly. The repetitive stress of a job combined with fatigue can lead to musculoskeletal disorders, rotator cuff injuries, and damage to joints and tendons.
If you have sustained an injury on the job, you may be wondering how you can afford to pay costly medical bills and make ends meet. That's what the Ohio workers' compensation system is for. However, obtaining benefits can be complicated. That's why you need an experienced workers' compensation attorney on your side.
The legal team at Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A. possess a wealth of legal knowledge and can help you navigate this complex process. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.