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90% of employers negatively affected by tired employees: Study

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Nine of 10 employers have been negatively affected by tired employees, reporting that 13% of workplace accidents involve fatigue, according to a National Safety Council report released Wednesday.

The report also found that 32% report injuries and near-misses due to fatigued employees, and that an employer with 1,000 employees can expect to lose more than $1 million annually as the result of missed workdays, lower productivity, and increased health care due to employee fatigue. The survey took place in February and March and included interviews with 2,010 workers.

Other findings include:

 

  • 50% of employers surveyed say they’ve had an employee fall asleep on the job.
  • 90% of employers want to understand root causes of employees' fatigue, but only 55% say they will adjust schedules or tasks.
  • 74% underestimate the prevalence of fatigue in the workforce.
  • 73% do not communicate to employees about fatigue.
  • 61% do not believe employees are comfortable telling them if they were too tired to perform their job safely.
  • 51% assign a night shift to an employee immediately before or after a day shift.
  • 60% lack a designated area for employees to rest.
  • 57% of employers have experienced absenteeism as the result of fatigue.

“This survey shows that employers are waking up to a hidden workplace hazard – too many employees are running on empty,” Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and chief executive officer of the National Safety Council, said in a press statement. “Employees are an organization’s greatest asset, and addressing fatigue in workplaces will help eliminate preventable deaths and injuries.”