On my yearly visit to the doctor regarding my sleep apnea condition, I fill out a survey regarding how likely I am to fall sleep under various conditions (watching television, sitting still following lunch, etc.) The potential closing of the eyes and beyond at work is a serious situation, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
An NSC survey found 90% of America’s employers have been negatively impacted by tired employees, with half saying they’ve had an employee fall asleep on the job. Fifty-seven percent of employers have experienced absenteeism, and another 32% report injuries and near-misses due to fatigued employees.
Fatigue not only hurts employees’ well-being and safety, but it also carries a significant price tag. An employer with 1,000 employees can expect to lose more than $1 million each year in missed workdays, lower productivity and increased healthcare due to employee fatigue.
Thirteen percent of workplace injuries can be attributed to fatigue, a dangerous byproduct of personal risk factors and a society that operates 24 hours a day. The new data summarized in the report identify workplace practices and policies that are contributing to worker fatigue, such as night shift and overtime scheduling, a lack of time off between shifts and inadequate rest areas within the workplace for employees to take breaks.
Other key survey findings in the report include:
- 90% of employers say they will meet with a fatigued employee to understand the root causes of the fatigue, but only 55 percent say they will adjust an employee’s schedule or tasks accordingly
- 74% of employers underestimate the prevalence of fatigue in the workforce
- 73% do not communicate to employees about fatigue
- 61% do not believe their employees would feel comfortable telling them if they were too tired to perform their job safely
- 51% allow a night shift immediately before or after a day shift, increasing the employee’s fatigue and risk of being injured
- 60% lack a designated area for employees to rest