Sleep Deprivation at Work
October 27, 2017
When an individual is not fully rested, they cannot perform tasks at an optimal level. This is true of all tasks that require concentration, attention, and motor skills, like driving, studying, and performing one ’s job duties. In fields like construction where workers use heavy machinery, reduced motor skills due to sleep deprivation can cause deadly accidents.
According to the National Institutes of Health, adults between the ages of 26 and 64 need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to perform optimally. Fewer than six hours of sleep can have a detrimental impact on an individual’s ability to perform during the day.
Sleep Deprivation Statistics for American Workers
According to a recent survey of 2,000 American workers conducted by the National Safety Council, 43 percent did not get enough sleep at night to perform their jobs safely. A few other statistics to note from this study include that:
- 97 percent reported experiencing at least one of the nine factors that put an individual at risk of fatigue, which include working during the early morning hours and working more than 50 hours each week
- 30 percent of the participants surveyed reported receiving an average of less than six hours of sleep at night
- 76 percent reported feeling tired at work
- 53 percent reported feeling less productive than they could otherwise be
- 44 percent reported difficulty focusing at work
Tired workers are 70 percent more likely than fully rested workers to be involved in accidents. Annually, reduced productivity due to worker fatigue costs employers between $1,200 to $3,100 per employee.
Staying Alert to Stay Safe on the Job
Worker exhaustion is especially dangerous in fields where workers handle heavy materials and machinery. Construction consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous fields for American employees each year and workers in this field are often familiar with the risk factors for fatigue like long days without breaks and work during early morning hours.
Construction workers can keep themselves and their coworkers safe by staying alert on the job. A few practices that can be safe habits for construction workers include:
- Eating full, protein-rich meals before work and during meal breaks. Unlike carbohydrates, protein provides long-lasting energy
- Drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages during the work day
- Taking breaks as needed. Even when a project has a looming deadline and there is pressure to work through exhaustion, it is important for workers to know when they are too tired to work safely and efficiently. It is often the employer’s responsibility to require breaks and to make sure workers take them when needed
- Coming to work fully rested. For workers, this can mean going to bed earlier at night and cutting habits that impede a full night’s rest, like screen time and alcoholic beverages before bed
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A workplace accident can have severe consequences for a victim. If you were injured while working in construction or any other field, complete our online form or call 215-426-4493 to arrange a free consultation with an experienced Philadelphia construction accident lawyer at DiTomaso Law.
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