Work-related accidents in Missouri and nationwide that involve an element of fatigue as the cause of the accident are a serious problem. About 13 percent of workplace injuries are attributable to fatigue or sleep problems, according to the National Safety Council. The NSC is seriously committed to confronting the problem and has published an extensive report on the subject of an employer’s development of an effective risk management system for dealing with fatigue. Although work-related accidents must be compensated by workers’ compensation insurance benefits regardless of fault, the dangers to workers of this widespread problem are severe enough to warrant a close look at potential preventive measures.
Part of the problem is that many workers may view fatigue as a necessary evil and deride its importance due to the prevailing workplace culture. The direct result of this attitude is the occurrence of worker injuries and deaths that could have been prevented. Transparency with respect to the existence of fatigue in the workplace must be a mainstay of any program that intends to seriously confront the problem. Workers must feel free to discuss their problems regarding uncontrollable tiredness or sleep-related events.
In many instances, the problem can be related to sleep apnea or other syndromes that are treatable. Getting people on treatment protocols at home is not only supportive of more production at work, but it also saves lives due to the reduction in the inherent dangers of certain sleep problems. The practical study of this subject among workers and employers can also result in a cleaner environmental workplace and other changes that are supportive of long-range individual health.
Missouri is a state where many industries contain the kinds of risk factors that are vulnerable to accidents related to fatigue. Whenever an accident occurs at work, the employee must make a prompt report to the supervisor or other management personnel and also seek immediate medical attention. When an employer is not cooperative and does not understand the medical nature of fatigue problems at work, it may be an opportune time to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney to learn about one’s workplace rights.