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Fatigue at Work Linked To Hazards, Costs

Close to half of American workers report not getting enough sleep at night. (Pixabay)
Close to half of American workers report not getting enough sleep at night. (Pixabay)
July 31, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. -- How many times a week do you say you're tired? For some, it's actually causing problems on the job.

A new report by the National Safety Council found more than half of American workers feel less productive because they're too tired, and 4-in-10 have trouble focusing and remembering things. Sure to make the boss unhappy: 27 percent nod off while on the job, and more disturbingly, 16 percent have fallen asleep on the road.

Report author Emily Whitcomb, senior program manager at the National Safety Council, said the report should serve as a wake-up call.

"Forty-three percent of the workers were not getting enough sleep every day,” Whitcomb said. "That's almost half of our workforce that are working impaired. It jeopardizes safety at work and on the road."

The report found people who live in southern states reported more safety risk factors from being tired on the job, while the Midwest had the lowest.

The report looked at nine different risk factors causing fatigue, and almost all of the respondents had at least one. Whitcomb said one problem is that many Americans are working multiple jobs in order to make ends meet.

"We actually found that in 60 percent of our survey respondents who worked multiple jobs, they were working 50 or more hours a week,” she said.

Nearly 3-in-10 reported falling asleep on the job at least once in the last month. Those most at risk worked the night shift, long shifts or irregular shifts.

Whitcomb said fatigued worker productivity costs employers $1,200-$3,100 per employee annually.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA