Are you…yawn…tired at work? Nearly 40% of U.S. workers are sleep deprived causing them to be fatigued.
It is recommended the average adult get 7-9 hours of sleep per day, but the majority don’t. In fact, only two of every 100 workers state they get more than 7-9 hours. Eight percent surveyed said they get less than five hours of sleep per day. After 10 days of losing just two hours of sleep per day, it is like your body has lost an entire day of sleep!
When you work against biology and a body does not get the necessary sleep needed, it can become fatigued. When you have two or more of the risk factors for fatigue, the ability to perform your job at an adequate level is reduced. How many of these risk factors for fatigue do you have?
- Shift Work
Seventeen percent of works work a non-day-shift role. Workers who work shift work regularly report fatigue.
- High Risk Hours
Forty-one percent of workers work during high risk times of 9 p.m. – 6 a.m. and 3 a.m. – 7 a.m..
- Demanding Job
Work that requires sustained attention for prolonged time contributes to fatigue. Eighty-one percent of workers maintained having demanding or repetitive jobs.
- Long Shifts
The long an employee works, the more tired they are and the more likely they are to make a critical mistake. Twenty -one percent of workers work shifts 10+ hours long.
- Long Work Week
Twenty-two percent of workers work more than 50 hours per week but work days should be limited to 5-7 consecutive days to reduce the risk of fatigue.
- Sleep Loss
Forty-three percent of workers don’t get at least seven hours of sleep per day.
- No Rest Breaks
Ten percent of workers do not get short breaks throughout their shift, but they have been proven to mitigate fatigue.
- Quick Shift Returns
Fourteen percent of workers have less than 12 hours between their shifts. Shift returns of less than eight hours should be avoided.
- Long Commutes
Thirty-one percent of workers commute 30+ minutes. This can increase fatigue development, compounded by drowsy driving risks.
If you have two or more of these risk factors, you might experience fatigue symptoms like decreased vigilance, attention, memory, and concentration as well as microsleeps. These symptoms are experienced 27 percent on the job, 16 percent on the road, and 41 percent off the job.
It’s been proven over multiple studies that a person who only sleeps 4-5 hours a day has the same crash rate as someone with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08. Also, a person who loses just two hours of sleep from eight hours is likely to perform at the same level as someone who has had 2-3 beers.
To mitigate the risk of fatigue, you are encouraged to get adequate sleep. When that is absolutely not possible, there are some other mitigation tactics that can be utilized at work.
- Physical Activity
NASA says pilots with seven minutes of activity during night flights can increase their alertness.
Short naps for 10-20 minutes can also boost alertness.
- As Needed Breaks
Allowing employees to take breaks as needed can reduce accumulated of on the task fatigue.
Want to know more? Listen to People’s Law Talk as Kevin King discusses worker fatigue risks, symptoms, and mitigation steps.
Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.
Looking for more information? The National Safety Council has a lot to share!