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FATIGUE AND WORKPLACE INJURIES

Sleep is a key to good health, but most people don’t get enough of it. Not only is that bad for your general health, lack of sleep has also been linked to an increase in work-related injuries. A survey taken by the National Safety Council (NSC) and Brigham Health Sleep Matters Initiative showed that fatigue results in absenteeism, diminished productivity and increased healthcare costs.

Night shift workers are at special risk for irregular sleep and fatigue. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has estimated that 54.1 million working adults have short sleep duration, with night shift workers accounting for nearly 62% of that number. Other factors that can contribute to irregular sleep and fatigue are shift work, demanding jobs, long shifts, long weeks, lack of rest breaks, quick shift returns and long commutes.

Fatigue affects concentration, short-term memory, coordination and reaction time, compromising someone’s safety, thinking, decision making and production. This can lead to costly mistakes, injuries, illnesses and potentially deadly consequences.

The effects of fatigue are compounded when a motor vehicle is involved. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that transportation accidents remain the single largest cause of work-related fatalities, led by a rise in roadway collisions and incidents in the past several years (more than 80 percent of 2,077 fatal transportation accidents reported in 2017).

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