Safety Tip: August
Whether it’s due to workloads, or after work activities, the result is the same – Many employees are arriving on the job overly-tired or sleep-deprived. Sleep deprivation or fatigue can affect employee’s a manual dexterity, reaction time, and alertness. Employee fatigue or lack of sleep can affect judgment and safety.
Studies show that employees are not only getting less sleep than they should; they’re getting less than they used to. The real danger arises when employees don’t realize they’re tired and go to work as if they were fine. Employees who try to function without enough sleep have a reduced ability to recognize or avoid risks. They have a slower reaction time and fail to make appropriate responses. Their quality and quantity of work is reduced, and have a poorer safety record.
Employees should take responsibility for getting enough rest. They should decide how much sleep they need to perform optimally. They should examine their off-work activities to see how they’re impacting sleep. If they feel they haven’t gotten enough sleep to function well at work, they should advise their supervisor and evaluate whether or not they can perform tasks safely. During their work shift, they should notice when they lose concentration or start to nod off. When they find their attention wandering, they should get up and stretch or walk around or grab a quick snack. Casual chats may help maintain alertness and improve rather than detract from productivity. Since dehydration increases the effect of fatigue, employees should also drink more water during the day.
To insure a good night’s sleep, the National Sleep Foundation suggests that individuals should exercise during the day, establish a regular sleep schedule, and relax before bedtime. Before going to sleep, they should avoid heavy meals or caffeine, and nicotine, and drink fewer fluids that may disrupt sleep. The Foundation cautions that certain drugs or sleep aids can sometimes interfere with natural sleep.
Employee fatigue due to inadequate rest can affect more than the individual involved. It can have catastrophic safety effects on co-works, families, businesses, and even, depending on the job, the public.
Employees need to get adequate sleep before going to work. They owe it to themselves and others.