Workers in some of the highest-risk occupations experience frequent fatigue on the job, according to a report by the National Safety Council (NSC). The subjects polled included construction workers and others employed in utility, manufacturing and the transportation industries. The report, Fatigue in Safety-Critical Industries: Impact, Risks and Recommendations, also surveyed employers, and the data shows that a significant majority of these respondents are tired at work. More concerning is the fact that fatigue can lead to safety-related incidents on the job.
Risk Factors for Fatigue
All the construction workers surveyed answered that they had at least one fatigue risk factor. This could be the high physical demands of the work, pressure to complete the work on time, monotonous work, and low energy. Almost half of these workers reported that they were working during times that presented higher risk. Work schedules in this industry can be very demanding as well; many get to work very early and leave later, since the work must be done when traffic is light, or occupants are not in buildings. Many of these employees also work overnight shifts, which can affect the body’s natural sleep patterns.
There can be biological and situational reasons for fatigue, too. An employee with a sleep disorder, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome, might be too fatigued to perform their job properly. Problems at home, such as a newborn baby that is awake all night or caring for a sick family member, can also cause a lack of sleep.
The Effects of Being Fatigued
Being tired at work can have serious consequences for workers in safety-sensitive industries like construction. Aside from affecting productivity, fatigue can cause serious accidents. Construction workers need to be alert and focused on their work, but tiredness can affect their ability to so. Being fatigued can feel like being in a fog, and it can affect a person’s short-term memory, rational judgment, and ability to pay attention. This leads to mistakes, and a seemingly simple one can lead to a workplace catastrophe. The NSC report highlighted a 2014 study that claimed an estimated 13 percent of work-related accidents were due to fatigue. It also estimated $410 billion as the amount of costs related to lower productivity and accidents related to fatigue.
Addressing the Problem
Companies and their employees may realize how much fatigue directly impacts workplace safety, but industry response to this issue may not be effective enough. Though it was mentioned as a major concern in the survey, companies do not seem to be acting to address it. Almost three-quarters of the employers responded that fatigue is a safety issue, but there has not been much progress toward developing fatigue-management protocols. This could include educating employees to recognize the symptoms of fatigue, revising working hours, rotating work responsibilities, and increasing break times.
Egg Harbor Township Construction Accident Lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm Advocate for Injured Workers
Fatigue-related construction accidents can cause serious injuries, and we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, contact an Egg Harbor Township construction accident lawyer at the D’Amato Law Firm today. Complete an online form or call us at 609-926-3300 for a free consultation. Our office is in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, where we serve the surrounding areas, including Atlantic City and South Jersey.