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How Dangerous Is Worker Fatigue?


Fatigue can set in due to a variety of circumstances, but the number one culprit is lack of sleep.

While the recommended sleep levels have been set to 7-9 hours per night, about 38% of Americans get under 7. Beyond the numbers, many people suffer from poor sleep quality, long work hours, and high stress. The result is not just an unhappy employee, but an unproductive one that is at risk of getting hurt on the job. Below, we’ll tell you about why fatigue often sets in, why it matters, what to do about it, and the possibility of being entitled to workers’ compensation. If you have already sustained an injury due to fatigue, it is best to contact a St. Louis workers compensation lawyer to learn more about your legal options.

worker fatigue

Fatigue Causes

Common causes of fatigue include lack of sleep, alcohol, drugs, medications, unhealthy eating, anxiety, depression, and a variety of physical diseases. A modern issue that is talked about less is looking at screens late at night. Whether that is a TV, computer, or cell phone, it is shining a bright light into your eyes and telling your body that it is not time to go to bed.

Why It Matters

You probably wouldn’t come to work drunk, but you often do when you’re exhausted. Unfortunately, moderate fatigue has been found to decrease alertness by the same amount as a few alcoholic drinks. In many jobs, you work with complex machinery that must be handled with care. A small drop in alertness can be the difference between getting injured and staying healthy.

What to Do About It

The best way to fight fatigue is to first assess your lifestyle. Which of the common causes do you willingly participate in? For many workers, merely getting into bed earlier in the night will do a lot for curbing fatigue. For others, they may have to cut back on screen time, lessen alcohol intake, eat healthier food, or any other adjustment that solves the problem at the source. Sometimes, your fatigue issue comes from the policies at your work, such as working double shifts.

Workers’ Compensation

If you experience an injury due to fatigue, you could be entitled to workers compensation benefits. This is especially true if your work conditions contributed to that fatigue. One example of this is an employer forcing employees to work unreasonably long hours. No matter what the context of your injury is, getting advice from a St. Louis work injury lawyer is a smart decision.

You never think you’ll get injured on the job until it happens. Once it does, you think back to all of the warning signs you should have noticed. One of those common warnings is fatigue. When you are tired, your attention drops, you may get sloppy, and you significantly increase your risk of injury. You can decrease the chance of that happening by making the adjustments necessary to stay alert.

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Updated: April 29, 2019
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