Anyone who has worked a job that sometimes – or even often – requires long hours, high pressure to perform, and shifts that interrupt regular sleep patterns knows that workplace fatigue is a problem. The more tired you become, the slower you are to react, the less effective your thought process is, and the more mistakes you make. In many workplaces, mistakes can mean injuries.
Your own experience could tell you what experts have confirmed for years: a tired worker is much more likely to become an injured worker. If your job puts demands on you that lead to workplace fatigue and you suffer an injury, you should consult with a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney.
Workplace fatigue has been recognized by health officials as a hazard for a long time. Studies and statistics repeatedly show that long shifts, excessive overtime work, and irregular shifts are major contributors to workplace fatigue, which itself is a major factor in workplace injuries. Mental fatigue from high-stress jobs can combine with physical fatigue to make an employee more prone to injury on the job. Mental and physical fatigue both impair employees’ performance. Fatigue worsens or slows their physical reaction time as well as their decision-making, it renders them less alert and aware of workplace dangers and has a negative impact on memory and concentration. These effects render an employee less attuned to surroundings, making that employee more likely to suffer an injury.
Given the effects of fatigue on physical and mental performance, it is no surprise that more workplace injuries result from worker fatigue. Irregular shifts or shifts that interfere with natural sleep patterns, such as evening or overnight shifts, show a direct correlation to workplace injuries, with injuries being almost 20 percent more likely on evening shifts and 30 percent more likely for workers on overnight shifts in comparison to workers on daytime shifts. Working long days, such as 12-hour shifts, also raises the risk of injury, by a whopping 37 percent. In addition, research has found links between workplace fatigue and chronic health problems that can be long-lasting, such as prostate and breast cancer, sleep disorders, and heart disease.
Given the current COVID-19 crisis, it is no surprise that people in many fields of work are being called upon to work long shifts and irregular hours. Occupations especially affected include medical workers, first responders, truckers, delivery drivers, warehouse and distribution center employees, and employees in other industries providing vital goods and services under trying conditions. It seems highly likely that many people in such jobs are fighting against workplace fatigue that only increases their risk of injury on the job.
If you have suffered an injury in the workplace you believe is due to work-related fatigue, you should consult with a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney. The lawyers of Malman Law are ready and able to assist you. You can reach us at (312) 629-0099 or through our website.