The Dangerous Risks of Work Fatigue
Everyone experiences fatigue from time to time. For some people, it becomes a part of their everyday life. Whether they realize it or not, they are putting themselves and the people around them at risk.
Why worker fatigue is so dangerous
The National Safety Council defines fatigue as "a physical, mental or social impairment that includes tiredness, sleepiness, reduced energy and increased effort needed to perform tasks at a desired level." The council reports nearly 4 out of 10 employees in the U.S. suffer from sleep loss, citing people who:
- Work night shifts, rotating shifts, long hours or have early-morning start times.
- Perform the same task for extended periods of time.
- Repeatedly perform a tedious task.
- Get less than seven hours of sleep per night.
- Suffer from sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.
- Are parents or the caregivers of young children.
- Take medications that interfere with sleep.
As a consequence, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences says people who don't get adequate sleep suffer the inability to concentrate and retain memory, which are recognized as key risk factors in on-the-job accidents. People have trouble maintaining their vigilance, speed and accuracy over time when faced with demanding tasks. If a task is tedious, they may struggle to pay attention.
Fatigue can have an impact on everyday tasks in the workplace. Tired workers are 70 percent more likely to be involved in accidents, according to The National Sleep Foundation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites one study that showed 13 percent of work injuries are attributable to sleep problems, including vehicle crashes.
If you've been hurt on the job, take action immediately
There is not much you can do to protect yourself from an accident caused by a fatigued coworker. On the job, you could be injured when someone repeating the same task over and over stops paying attention and loses control of dangerous machinery.
In the immediate aftermath of any accident, you're dealing with medical issues, perhaps facing an extended period without a paycheck and being pressured by insurance companies who want you to settle your case. Their proposition may be tempting because you're desperate for money, but don't be fooled: you deserve more than they are offering. If the accident is work-related, you may be overwhelmed by the maze of workers' compensation laws. At worst, you may be trying to cope with the tragic loss of a loved one.
What you need is a legal advocate like the personal injury accident and workers' compensation attorneys at Schweickert & Ganassin LLP. Their lawyers have more than 120 years of combined experience handling cases just like yours in Northern Illinois and statewide.