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Reducing fatigue in the workplace

For many North Carolina employees, it is easy to become fatigued, especially if they are responsible for meeting deadlines while having busy work and non-work schedules. Because sleep deprivation can have serious consequences, the National Safety Council chose to focus on fatigue during the second week of its National Safety Month.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average adult needs a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night. The CDC estimates that a third of adults do not get the sleep they need. In general, employees who work night shifts or who have shifts that change frequently are most at risk for fatigue. Workers who have more than one job or who work long hours are also at risk. Further, people who are required to work in harsh environmental conditions are also at risk.

Those who regularly do not get enough sleep can face a wide range of health consequences, including heart disease, stroke and depression. Those who are required to operate dangerous equipment, including vehicles, are at risk for falling asleep while working, which could result in serious injuries or even death.

Employers can help prevent fatigue-related workplace accidents by reducing the need for long work hours and examining shift schedules so that employees can get more sleep time. Workers who do suffer an injury, however, could seek compensation for their medical expenses and a percentage of lost income if the injury prevents them from returning to work. Many such workers choose to have the help of an attorney when preparing their claim for workers' compensation benefits.

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