The National Safety Council (NSC) recently published the second part of a 3-part series on workplace fatigue. Part 1 was initially published last year, and Part 3 will be out this fall. Where Part 1 discussed the causes and consequences of fatigue in the workplace, Part 2 focused on employers and the role that they play in this problem.
Employers must do better
Workplace fatigue is quite a problem. Of all the employers surveyed in the NSC study, 90 percent claimed that they “want to understand root causes of employees’ fatigue,” but unfortunately, only about half are willing to change schedules or work tasks to mitigate that fatigue. In other words, employers want to know what’s causing fatigue, but they do not want to take the steps necessary to prevent it. Most employers do not do anything to aid employees who might be chronically fatigued.
Half of employers surveyed say that they schedule some employees to work a day shift immediately following a night shift. This means that not only does that worker have their normal sleep schedule disrupted to work through the night, they are not able to catch up on sleep the following day. By that day shift, that worker experiences a level of fatigue that makes them a danger to themselves as well as their fellow coworkers.
Employees must prioritize sleep. Employers must prioritize their workers.
As Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorneys, we have seen the disastrous consequences of an employee working on too little sleep. That fatigue comes at a very high cost. Employee fatigue slows down productivity, which costs employers more time and money. But more importantly, fatigue increases the risk of illnesses among the employees and, worst of all, greatly increases the risk of a workplace accident or an auto accident.
It is the responsibility of both employers and employees to ensure that their worksite is safe. This means that employees must prioritize sleep. They must do all they can to ensure that they remain well rested and able to tackle the tasks ahead. In order to accomplish this, employers must do what they can to accommodate employees who are experiencing fatigue. Only once employers and employees work together to combat this problem do we have any hope of changing it.
If you have sustained an injury on the job, contact us today. We can offer you a free case consultation.