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The link between sleep and workplace accidents

Along with food and water, all human beings need sleep to function and survive. While the National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 get between seven to nine hours of sleep each night, national statistics show that many adults simply aren't getting enough sleep. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a 2009 survey of more than 74,500 U.S. adults found that roughly 35 percent reported consistently getting less than seven hours of sleep per night.

Not getting enough sleep can have numerous adverse health and behavioral implications including problems with concentration, memory, driving and performing assigned work duties. Additionally, among those adults surveyed by the CDC, nearly 38 percent admitted to "unintentionally falling asleep at least once in the preceding month."

In the workplace, sleep deprivation has been linked to decreased productivity and increased risk of injury. For both employees and employers, it's important to understand how not getting enough sleep may be negatively impacting workplace productivity and safety.

Recently, a company called Circadian which specializes in providing "workforce performance and safety solutions," shed light on the varied ways that sleep deprivation can increase the likelihood of workplace accidents and injuries occurring. For example, workers who are overly tired are less like to communicate effectively or at all and lack of communication is frequently cited as contributing to workplace accidents.

Additionally, Circadian reports that overly fatigued workers are more easily distracted, less diligent with regard to following safety protocols and more prone to engage in risk-taking behaviors. For both employers and employees, sleep deprivation can be costly and dangerous and negatively impact workplace safety.

Source: EHS Today, "The Ten Dangers of Sleep Deprivation for Workers," Sandy Smith, Nov. 24, 2015

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