How Sleep Deprivation Contributes to Workplace Accidents and Injuries

How Sleep Deprivation Contributes to Workplace Accidents and InjuriesWere you injured in a workplace accident? Are you involved in any kind of dispute about workers’ compensation benefits that you are not receiving? At the law firm of Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, we are here to listen to you, and offer sound, legal guidance and support when you have been injured. You are invited to contact us in Newark, Seaford or Wilmington offices.

If you know that you often do not get enough sleep, and your lack of sleep has an impact on your level of accuracy and productivity at work, you are not alone. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 50-70 million U.S. adults have a sleep or wakefulness disorder. Sleep deprivation may not always be given a lot of attention because it tends to be somewhat of a hidden issue, but it contributes to decreased productivity, workplace accidents and mistakes which cost the economy billions of dollars each year.

The National Sleep Foundation conducted a study that found that 11 percent of transportation workers admitted to showing up to work feeling sleepy. As you are riding the commuter train or boarding an airplane, do you want to think about whether the conductor or the pilot got enough sleep last night to be alert on the job? The article “A Healthy Workplace Starts in Bed,” published by the Harvard School of Public Health Center for Work, Health and Well-Being, reported that more than half of the nurses who participated in their study were sleep-deprived. The article also points to recent studies of firefighters and police officers of whom a shockingly high number are sleep deprived and have sleep disorder breathing. Thomas Balkin, chief of the Department of Behavioral Biology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, who is also the chairperson of the board of directors for the National Sleep Foundation said, “Inadequate sleep affects many essential aspects of working safely. Sleep deprivation can significantly reduce workers’ reaction time, motor control, decision-making ability and situational awareness.”

Dangers of sleep deprivation for workers:

There are countless ways in which the lack of adequate sleep can have negative consequences on workers’ safety and performance in the workplace. EHS Today outlined the following dangers of sleep deprivation for workers:

  1. Decreased communication
  2. Performance deteriorates
  3. Increased risk of being distracted
  4. Driving impairments
  5. Increased number of errors
  6. Poor cognitive assimilation and memory
  7. Poor mood appropriate behavior
  8. Greater risk-taking behavior
  9. Inability to make necessary adjustments
  10. Effects of sleep deprivation compounds across nights

Sleep hygiene tips from the CDC

Sleep hygiene is the adaptation of good sleep habits and routines which can help improve the quality and quantity of sleep

  • Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time very morning
  • Avoid eating big meals before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine or alcohol too close to bedtime
  • Avoid nicotine

Other things that can contribute to better quality sleep is to maintain a regular exercise routine, take short (no longer than 20 minutes) naps when you can and do not worry or obsess about not getting enough sleep when you are trying to fall asleep.

If you are concerned about a lack of quality sleep or if your partner complains about your loud snoring, snorting or gasping at night, consult your doctor to rule out a serious sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. Getting adequate rest is vital for overall health and for the skills you need at work such as concentration, memory, driving and operating complex machinery. Healthy sleep habits make you a safer employee.

If you should suffer an injury in the workplace while doing your regular work duties, you may be able to claim workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault. You can receive partial wage replacement benefits for the time lost at work, and medical coverage for your workplace-related injury. A Delaware workers’ compensation attorney from Silverman, McDonald & Friedman can be helpful if you encounter any kind of dispute related to your claim or if you decide to take a settlement. Please give us a call at 302-314-5533 or fill out our quick contact form to schedule a free consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Seaford, Newark or Wilmington.