Workplace fatigue has many causes
The National Safety Council published a report that collected data from more than 2,000 working adults in regards to fatigue and how it affects their performance in the workplace. Our workplace accident lawyers at Hochman and Plunkett have seen what can happen when employees become too fatigued at work and we are committed to helping those who have been affected by it.
Some of the factors that influenced the risk of workplace fatigue among employees included:
- Working a non-day shift: Employees on the night shift, or shifts that vary drastically day to day, are more likely to become fatigued at work. Night shift workers - especially - often find they have trouble sleeping during the daytime. As the report put it, "working during non-daylight hours increases your risk for circadian rhythm performance deficits, or problems that arise when you work against your natural body clock."
- Demanding or High risk jobs: Employees who are required to have constant, sustained attention for most, if not all of their shift are at a higher risk of workplace fatigue. Conversely, employees whose jobs are monotonous can also find themselves fatigued. Other environmental factors that can affect workplace fatigue are extreme hot or cold temperatures and inadequate lighting.
- Lack of Sleep: The average adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Attempting to work after one or more nights of inadequate sleep can have real and serious consequences in the workplace. Without proper sleep, an employee may have trouble focusing and even fall asleep while at work.
- Inadequate rest breaks: Employees need to be able to take a break from their task at least a few times a shift. Even a quick five minute break can reinvigorate the employee and decrease the chance of a workplace accident.
- Long commutes: If you have a long commute, a typical 8 or 9 hour shift quickly becomes a 10 or 11 hour day, which can leave you feeling more fatigued. This can cause a danger, not just in the workplace, but on the road as well.
Other risk factors included overwork, working shifts that were 10 hours or longer, and working more than 50 hours a week.
Steps can be taken to prevent workplace fatigue
These days, Americans are working longer and longer shifts. The jobs themselves are often difficult - or dangerous - and a lot is required of workers. Employees who are overstressed, overworked and sleep deprived, are more likely to become fatigued at work, which greatly increases the risk of a workplace accident.
Employers need to be aware of the stress their employees are under, whether it's working long hours with inadequate breaks or working odd hours of the day and night. Considering all these different factors, employers need to take all necessary steps to decrease the risk of workplace fatigue. This means ensuring that their employees have adequate break times throughout their shifts. Taking these and other similar measures will safeguard their work environment against the effects of workplace fatigue.
If you or a loved one were injured in a workplace accident, contact Hockman and Plunkett. Our attorneys will help you get back on your feet and back to work.