Some folks fall asleep as soon as their heads hit their pillows, while others are often left “counting sheep.” But regardless of where a worker falls on that spectrum, chances are they are still not getting enough sleep. A study released by RAND Europe late last year estimated, according to EurekAlert, lack of sleep among U.S. workers costs the economy $411 billion a year, with an estimated 1.2 million working days lost each year due to missed work or a lack of productivity. And while losing money is a definite negative, sleep deprivation can also have adverse effects on safety. After all, sleep deprivation likely would not help prevent safety violations, like a missed inspection or forgotten safeguard. Lacking sleep can be as dangerous as alcohol impairment. Industrial Safety & Hygiene News (ISHN) reports lack of sleep can impede judgment, manual dexterity, and alertness, all increasing safety risks.
According to a 2010 study reported by ISHN, Canadians who worked night and rotating shifts were almost twice as likely to be injured at work when compared with those working regular day shifts. If one in three adults does not get enough sleep, which is considered at least seven hours each night, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in 2016, then the problem of industries sacrificing safety due to sleep deprivation is likely widespread. Sleep deprivation can also affect safely getting to and from a job, not just at the job itself.
Drowsy driving directly results in an estimated 100,000 vehicle crashes and 71,000 injuries each year, according to the National Sleep Foundation. No regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) directly address sleep deprivation, but knowing who is fit for duty and encouraging employees to be well rested can help them better adhere to safety regulations and make for a more productive work environment, a win-win situation.
If you need additional information, contact Kendall Dunson, a lawyer in our firm’s Personal Injury & Product Liability Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Kendall.Dunson@beasleyallen.com.
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