Fatigue in the Workplace

“I slept terrible last night.” How many times do you hear that at your work? Or maybe a co-worker says “I need this extra large coffee this morning. I need to stay awake.” Most people hear those statements and simply fluff it off or agree that they feel the same way. However, this is not something that should be ignored. Being tired at work could become a serious issue and a safety hazard. The National Safety Council recently reported that forty-three percent of Americans say they don’t get enough sleep and that could jeopardize safety at work. The National Safety Council released a survey- based report entitled Fatigue in the Workplace: Causes & Consequences of Employee Fatigue recently and the statistics that returned were a definite sign of a growing issue in the workplace. “These findings are a literal wake-up call: When we’re tired, we can put others and ourselves at risk,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. Deborah continues, "We hope Americans recognize that impairment stems not just from alcohol and drugs, but lack of restorative rest – fitness for duty starts with getting a good night's sleep."

The survey also found that ninety-seven percent of Americans say they have at least one of the leading nine risk factors for fatigue, which include working through the night or in the early morning, working extended shifts without regular breaks, working more than fifty hours each week and enduring commutes longer then thirty minutes. Seventy-six percent of Americans say they feel tired at work, fifty-three percent feel less productive, and forty-four percent have trouble focusing.

Other stats that were included in the report include:

  • 41% work high-risk hours, at least occasionally.

  • 39 % have trouble remembering things at work because of fatigue.

  • 31 % commute 30 minutes or more, which exacerbates the chances of falling asleep behind the wheel.

  • 27 % have trouble making decisions because of fatigue.

  • 10 % do not get regular rest breaks.

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