How Does Fatigue Lead to Workplace Injuries?

Fatigue is a major risk factor for many workers. Whether you work night shifts, have more than one job, or just have too much on your plate, sleep deprivation can quickly catch up to you. It is estimated that workers who get less than 5 hours of sleep comprise more than 7% of injury incidents per year in the United States. Workers who get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, however, account for roughly 2% of injury incidents in the United States per year. Sleep is important, and fatigue can increase your risk for an injury at work.

What Are Three Warning Signs of Fatigue?

1. Slower Response Times

If you are suffering from fatigue, your reaction time will become slow. This means you respond to events and sudden changes at a slower rate than someone who is not suffering from fatigue. Having a slower response time can increase your risk of a workplace accident, especially if you are working in a high-stress job with heavy equipment. Construction site workers, for instance, must sometimes make quick decisions to maintain the safety of workers. If a machine malfunctions or a piece of scaffolding falls, a fast reaction time is the only thing that will protect you and the people around you.

2. More Mistakes

Workers suffering from fatigue often make more mistakes than workers who get enough sleep. While little mistakes may seem trivial, bigger mistakes can have serious consequences. Depending on your job, you may have a lot of responsibility to keep yourself and others safe, and one mistake could take your life. Welders and machine shop workers, for instance, deal with dangerous machines on a daily basis. One mistake could lead to a lost limb, or death. Even mistakes that don’t threaten your physical health can decrease your productivity, so it is important to pay attention to this warning sign.

3. Decreased Concentration

Workers who suffer from fatigue may also experience decreased cognitive function. They cannot concentrate or think clearly, and they have trouble remembering important information. If you suffer from fatigue, you may forget an appointment or business meeting, have trouble completing normal tasks, and struggle to focus on your work. In every job, fatigue can decrease your ability to perform your duties well and can increase your risk for an injury.

Don’t Ignore the Warning Signs of Fatigue

Fatigue, while a common dilemma in the workforce, can lead to a serious workplace injury. It is important to get enough sleep and monitor your level of fatigue to help avoid an accident. Employers can help by providing sufficient breaks, bright environments to keep workers alert, and scheduling arrangements to let workers have consistent work patterns. At Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A., our Toledo personal injury attorneys can represent you as you seek compensation for a workplace injury.

Call us today at (419) 318-0772 for quality legal services.

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