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Fatigue can increase the risk of a work injury

AdobeStock_150894526.jpegWe may have gained an hour with the end of daylight savings time, but many people still report feeling more tired than usual during the day as they adjust to the time change. This is not only incredibly dangerous for individuals who get behind the wheel, but also for many workers across several fields of employment.

However, fatigue is not only a danger around the end of daylight savings time. It has become a significant threat that is putting workers at risk across the country year-round.

An increase in fatigue means a decrease in safety

It is not surprising that fatigue is often directly correlated with the risk of work injuries. After all:

  • When employees are fatigued, their performance and attention to safety decreases;
  • Extreme fatigue and tiredness often cause employees to overexert themselves physically; and
  • Fatigue can impair workers mentally, which can lead to dangerous errors and lapses in judgment that cause accidents.

And according to the National Safety Council, more than 43% of workers report they are sleep-deprived and fatigued on the job regularly. This is a significant threat to both fatigued workers and their colleagues. Unfortunately, many workers do not stop to rest when they feel fatigued. They continue to work, which only increases the risks they face.

Workers must be aware of the signs of fatigue

When workers are fatigued and not focused on safety, the chances of a catastrophic workplace accident increase exponentially. For example, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) reports that working excessive overtime or around 12 hours per day can increase an employee’s chance of injury by 37%. Individuals who work night shifts are also 30% more likely to suffer a work injury than any worker with a day shift.

However, all Georgia workers, whether or not they work the night shift or overtime, must be aware of how fatigue can affect them. Everyone exhibits and experiences fatigue differently, but some of the most common warning signs of fatigue that workers should look out for include:

  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Decreased alertness and poor concentration
  • Slow reactions and reflexes

If workers detect these signs in themselves or colleagues, they should take a break from work. Taking time to rest, in addition to getting enough sleep each night, can help workers avoid feeling fatigued on the job, and stay alert to keep themselves safe.