Sleep is essential to good health and physical and mental function. Unfortunately, many people choose to sacrifice sleep in order to stay ahead of a busy work schedule. Often we find ourselves with a lot to do and not enough hours in the day to get it done. The first solution many choose is to start cutting back on bed time. This can be a dangerous mistake that can lead to adverse health effects and injury.
Working Hard in Australia
There’s no denying the work ethic of people in Australia, which comes in second among the most workaholic countries in the world. In fact, statistics released by Business Insider revealed that less than half of all full time workers take all their available annual leave days. That means those same employees work an average of 1,690 hours annually.
It’s great to be committed to your job, but not when it starts to adversely affect your ability to get enough sleep. These statistics prove that Australians aren’t just hard working, but overworked. This is a big problem that causes many workplace accidents each year. The problem will only get worse as more workers choose to cut back on their slumber instead of their workload.
The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation on the Job
What’s the big deal about losing an hour of sleep here or there? You have probably done it before and nothing catastrophic happened. Once in a while, things get busy and you have to make changes to accommodate your schedule. The problem is that when this becomes the norm, suddenly you’re losing sleep on a regular basis. When you fall below the recommended amount of sleep, you start to deprive the body and mind of the rejuvenating rest it requires. Sleep deprivation can cause:
- An inability to adapt to change
- Poor performance
- Slower reaction time
- Lack of concentration
- Lack of reasonable judgement
Did you know that sleep deprivation can have effects that are similar to drinking alcohol? If you are awake for 17 hours, the effect is the same as having a blood alcohol level of 0.05. If you extend that to 21 hours, the effect mirrors someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.08.
Everyone knows you are not supposed to drink on the job, but sleep deprivation can be just as bad. In fact, research has found that 30% of all serious accidents were the result of fatigue. And workers who are experiencing excessive fatigue are 70% more likely to find themselves involved in an industrial accident compared to those who are well rested.
Managing Employee Fatigue
It is up to each individual worker to ensure that they get the sleep they need to function at healthy levels each day. That being said, there are some things that employers can do to help ensure the safety and health of their employees, including:
- Limit overtime hours to 4 per 8 hour shift and 2 per 10 hour shift
- Set a 55 hour weekly hour cap
- Limit consecutive evening shifts to 4
- 8 am end time for all night shifts
- Require 12 hours off between shifts
- Schedule a minimum of 2 full nights of sleep after last evening shift
- Provide a place for workers to rest prior to leaving
- Keep pre-6 am morning shifts to a minimum
- Avoid scheduling critical tasks between 3 am and 5 am
If you would like more information on this or need a personal injury lawyer contact Carew Lawyers today.