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Is Fatigue a Safety Hazard at Work?

Everyone has been tired at work at some point. Fatigue occurs whenever a person is sleep deprived and needs rest. The National Safety Council (NSC), a non-profit safety advocacy organization focused on eliminating leading causes of preventable death, has found that over 43 percent of workers are sleep deprived.

Symptoms of fatigue can include feeling exhausted, irritable, or forgetful. Fatigue can be chronic or acute. Chronic sleep deprivation is known to cause cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression, and other illnesses. Fatigue has also been linked to other medical problems, including digestive disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, reproductive problems, and some cancers. It can also worsen chronic diseases, such as diabetes and epilepsy.

Modern lifestyles often pose challenges to getting enough sleep. Overextending obligations to care for family, having multiple jobs, and other situations can cause chronic fatigue. Prolonged physical or mental work or long periods of anxiety and/or stress can also cause fatigue. Sometimes, medical conditions are responsible for work fatigue, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome. In addition, some medications interfere with normal sleep patterns.

The workplace can also be a contributing factor to sleep deprivation. The body operates on a sleep-wake cycle called the circadian rhythm, which programs the body to sleep at night. Interfering with the rhythm causes many problems. Those who work long shifts, irregular shifts, or overnight shifts are more vulnerable to fatigue, work injuries, and workplace accidents.

Why is Fatigue a Safety Hazard?

Being tired or fatigued can reduce productivity. In fact, working while fatigued can also risk serious injury or even death. Fatigue can increase risk-taking behavior and interfere with physical and mental function. It can interfere with cognitive processing, such as complex planning ability and problem-solving skills.

Certain high-risk activities are particularly dangerous when workers are fatigued, such as:

  • Operating machinery or equipment.
  • Driving a vehicle, such as a forklift.
  • Handling hazardous materials.

It is important for employers and employees alike to be aware of fatigue and to avoid working when fatigue interferes significantly in performance.

What can Employers Do to Address Fatigue in the Workplace?

An employer can identify signs of fatigue and suggest that a worker take paid personal leave to go home to rest if their performance is obviously negatively impacted by fatigue. Signs of fatigue include excessive yawning, red eyes, lack of focus, slow response times, and poor work performance. The worker should be able to travel home safely and may need to take a taxi rather than drive home.

While work typically makes employees tired, there are some steps that employers can do to reduce the risk of fatigue. Examples include:

  • Providing relaxation rooms or on-site sleep pods for use during rest breaks.
  • Balancing workloads effectively and rotating overtime assignments among employees.
  • Ensuring workers are scheduled to have two consecutive days off work.
  • Providing training on recognizing fatigue, its causes, and consequences.
  • Optimizing alertness by controlling the environment to provide cooler workplace temperatures, lower humidity, and access to natural light.

Addressing fatigue in the workplace may cost employers a significant investment.  However, there can be a significant return on this investment if it reduces fatigue-related workplace accidents and increases productivity. If a work accident does occur and the worker needs additional help, the injured employee should speak to a lawyer about a Workers’ Compensation claim.

Delaware County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Advocate for Safe Work Practices That Reduce Fatigue

Workplace fatigue can cause injuries and accidents. It is important that workers get adequate rest. Employers should also recognize the signs of worker fatigue and help mitigate this danger. If you need help after a work accident, speak to a Delaware County Workers’ Compensation lawyer at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello. Call us at (610) 892-4940 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Media, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading, and West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Contact the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello

To discuss your case in a free, confidential consultation with attorney Deborah M. Truscello, Esq., call or fill out the form below. 

From our office located in Media, PA we serve the surrounding areas of

  • Bucks County
  • Chester County
  • Delaware County
  • Montgomery County
  • Philadelphia County
Including but not limited to
  • Allentown
  • Lancaster
  • Reading
  • West Chester

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Why Clients Choose Deborah

Heather A
I have known Deb for years now and it all started in 2009 when I got hurt and needed legal help with my workers comp. I randomly chose Deb because of the things I read on her website and I liked that she had a take charge attitude about just about everything. She out-lawyered someone and got me more in a settlement for that and then also worked with me on another case and won that one as well for me. If you get to know Deb and her personal story, you will get to know an amazing single mom who has had her own struggles and has come out so much stronger. She will fight for you if you do your part as a client and follow her guidance. I have now used two women lawyers in Media and three men and I actually found the two women far more effective and both won my cases that the men lost. Without Deb and my other lawyer winning the cases for me that they did - I could have found myself disabled for good with no money to pay for the life I live because I can’t work now. I credit my ability to be able to eat and have transportation and all. I couldn’t be more grateful for their hard work they did for me. Deb has won two of my cases and I would absolutely refer others to her for the same kinds of cases and I would use her again if I ever needed her help again!
Daveen Carpenter
Deborah's team went above and beyond to get my case settled quickly. I am forever grateful
Rebecca Porter
If you ever need a worker’s compensation attorney, I highly suggest using Deborah Truscello. I had a work accident injury and was referred to Deborah. She was with me every step of the way, with this long-drawn-out process. She was there any time I had questions or needed advice on my rehabilitation. Now my case is settled. I am very happy how things turned out and I owe it all to her. I can't thank her enough. I will use her again if I ever need too.
Jackson Jones
Deborah is an excellent lawyer. She was professional, knowledgeable, and made me and my case feel important. She was always accessible and answered all of my questions. I would definitely recommend Debbie to anyone injured at work and in need of legal services.
I am a client of Deborah Truscello and also a woman of color. Deborah Truscello is not a bigot nor is she a racist. I hired Ms. Truscello back in 2016 for a very nasty custody case against a crazy man who has a history of dragging all his children through the court system. Ms. Truscello has been nothing but professional and well organized. She is very reliable and always available. I could contact her any time of the day or night and she is always responsive to my text messages, calls, and emails. If you are considering hiring her as your attorney I highly recommend you schedule a consultation and see for yourself you will not be disappointed.
Andrew Kriegh
Amazing law firm, they have helped me so much and enlightened me to the options I have, and to the right doctors who are still treating my issues... Very professional and very great people glad to have her in my team!!

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