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Employees must do their part to ensure they get enough rest to perform their work duties, experts say.
Fatigue is “not always the employer’s responsibility,” said Bill Spiers, Charlotte, North Carolina-based vice president, unit manager and risk control strategies practice leader for Lockton Cos. L.L.C.
Wellness initiatives have been catching on to that way of thinking, helping to explain to employees the importance of sleep because much of the fatigue can be caused by factors outside of work, he said.
“The interesting thing is fatigue really hits that bridge between wellness and safety that companies have been struggling (to link) for many years,” said David L. Barry, Kansas City, Missouri-based national director of casualty risk control and senior vice president in the risk control and claims advocacy practice for Willis Towers Watson P.L.C.
Fatigue awareness needs to be a part of employer culture, said Emily Whitcomb, senior program manager for the Itasca, Illinois-based National Safety Council. “You want to make sure your employees understand fatigue is a hazard… push them to prioritize seven hours of sleep.”
Other issues such as employee mental health and diet and exercise also come into play when it comes to adequate rest, said Mr. Spiers.
“We are not robots — we are human beings,” he said. “With human beings, you have physical and mental things” occurring outside of work, he said. “You can’t just isolate one thing.”
“A lot of times it’s just having a good conversation” with employees, said Mr. Barry.
Employee fatigue is the root of nearly one-third of injuries and near-misses in the workplace and experts are calling on productivity-centered employers to do their part in helping curb the widespread problem.