Each year, thousands of workplace accidents occur as a result of sleep deprivation among workers. Here is how sleep deprivation can affect your safety at work.
According to the CDC, a third of American adults are considered to have sleep deprivation. Even more shocking, nearly 275,000 workplace accidents that occur each year are usually related to lack of enough sleep among employees.
These shocking stats outline sleep deprivation as a serious health concern and a significant business risk. Let’s discuss sleep deprivation and how it can affect your safety at work.
What Causes Sleep Deprivation?
Sleep deprivation generally occurs due to lack of consistent sleep or when there is minimized quality of sleep. It can also occur due to sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea.
Lack of sleep makes your body and brain function abnormally and increases your chances of suffering life-threatening injuries at work. Here are common ways sleep deprivation may trigger tragic accidents at work:
1. It Impairs the Memory
When you’re asleep, your body sheds off fatigue and restores its energy. This, in turn, enables the brain to create new thought networks and refresh your memory.
Lack of enough sleep takes a toll on your short and long-term memory. As a result, you may have trouble processing information and remembering the most important safety guidelines at work. For example, you may forget to switch off a dangerous machine or put on gloves, which can put you in harm’s way.
2. It Slows Down Reflexes
Sleep deprivation impairs your mental abilities and puts your overall health at significant risk. It also slows down brain activity resulting in slowed reaction time, poor balance, and impaired body coordination. This makes it extremely dangerous to operate heavy machinery such as forklifts, excavators, or big rigs.
3. It Impairs Judgment
Lack of sleep clouds judgment and increases the possibility of making poor decisions. For example, you could decide to operate a machine without its safety guards or forgo a life-saving PPE. Also, you may feel like you are doing okay without adequate sleep and fail to realize the danger you are exposing yourself to.
4. It Interferes with Emotional Regulation
Lack of enough sleep can result in an inability to have emotional control. It can make you impatient, irritable, and prone to depression or anxiety. This is especially risky if your occupation involves working long hours.
Can You Get Compensation for Sleep-Deprivation-Related Work Injuries?
Generally, yes. Missouri has a no-fault worker’s compensation system. Meaning, you can generally get compensation even if the accident was due to your negligence.
However, it’s worth noting that your workers’ comp claim may be denied if evidence shows that your sleep deprivation was due to alcohol or drug use.
Speak With an Experienced Missouri Workers Compensation Attorney
Filing for compensation after a work-related injury is not always as straightforward as most people think. However, with the help of an experienced Kansas City workers’ compensation attorney, you can avoid many of the common pitfalls, including settling for less than you are legally entitled to.
If you have been injured on the job, call the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann 24/7 to schedule a free case evaluation!
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