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Sixty-nine percent of employees surveyed recently reported that they are tired at work, raising workplace safety concerns as many of those employees work in safety-critical jobs, according to a report released Monday by the National Safety Council.
The Itasca, Illinois-based organization's report is the third in a series on workplace fatigue and exposes a gap between how employees and employers view the risks and consequences of being tired at work, according to a statement.
The survey included input from 2,110 employees, a majority in manufacturing, transportation, and utilities, and 504 employers.
While 90% of employers feel the impact of fatigue on their organizations, including observing safety incidents involving tired employees and declines in productivity, just 72% of workers view being tired as a safety issue.
The report also revealed that:
• 97% of employers in the transportation industry feel the impact of fatigue — the highest among all safety-critical industries NSC reported on;
• Nearly all — 95% — of employers in utilities said it is unsafe to drive while tired, but just 66% of employees in that industry agreed;
• 100% of construction workers report having at least one risk factor for fatigue;
• 46% of construction workers say they work during high-risk hours, such as at night or early morning;
• Transportation industry employees who reported at least one risk factor for fatigue cited long shifts (42%) and sleep loss (48%).
The organization found it “troubling to see just how affected our safety-sensitive industries are,” said Emily Whitcomb, senior program manager of Fatigue Initiatives at the National Safety Council, said in a statement.
“When you’re tired, you can be deadly, and these industries are already at higher risk because of their safety-sensitive jobs,” she said of what the report deems a “hidden but common hazard in all workplaces. “We urge employers to address fatigue risk in their workplace so all employees can be healthy and safe.”
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.