According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), workers suffering from fatigue while on the job are almost three times more likely to be involved in a job-related workplace accident. Sleep is not intended to be a luxury that’s only enjoyed by the lazy; sleep is a necessary part of our 24-hour life cycle and helps keep us focused, alert, and competent while at work. In jobs that require physical labor and mental acuity, sleep is crucial to getting the job done and getting it done safely.
Cases of extreme fatigue in employees has been equated to intoxication in some studies, meaning that workers who are doing their jobs in a sleep deprived state may make some of the same mistakes that people under the influence of drugs or alcohol would make. While the research on workplace fatigue is somewhat limited at this time, OSHA reports the following: There were 107 non-fatal fatigue accidents in the workplace in 2014; these accidents included slips, falls, and work-related illnesses. That same year, there were approximately 4700 workplace-related deaths, and the exact causes of all of those are not known. Human error, including workplace fatigue, cannot be ruled out completely.
Sleep Eludes Many
A staggering 45% of the population report having sleep problems on any given night, and according to healthline.com, sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on the human body and psyche. Here are just some of the effects of sleep deprivation on the typical person:
- Mood changes: Lack of sleep can make you quick tempered and emotional; chronic sleep deprivation can lead to anxiety and depression.
- Weakened immune system: Sleep deprivation weakens your body’s ability to fight infection making you more prone to viruses and other illness.
- High blood pressure: If you sleep less than five hours per night, your likelihood of developing blood pressure problems increases dramatically.
- Weight gain: When you’re sleep deprived, the chemicals in your brain are off and you may be more likely to feel like you’re not full after a meal.
- Diabetes: A lack of sleep actually affects your body’s release of insulin, which is a hormone that lowers blood sugar. People who don’t sleep enough generally have higher blood sugar levels and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Heart disease: Sleep deprivation leads to higher blood pressure and higher levels of chemicals linked to inflammation, which also plays a role in heart disease.
- Poor balance: Sleep deprivation can lead to problems with balance and coordination making you more prone to accidents and falls while on the job.
Stimulants like caffeine and energy drinks are not enough to override our body’s inherent need for sleep. If chronic sleep deprivation is a problem for you, please see your doctor. Going to work day in and day out without the proper amount of sleep can lead to serious injury in the workplace—for you and for those around you. Chronic sleep deprivation can have devastating effects on your health and can lead to non-fatal and fatal accidents in the workplace.
Talk to work injury lawyer in your area if you or someone you love has been injured on the job.