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Fatigue a factor in many workplace injuries

For many people, modern-day life in North Carolina and throughout the country is characterized by the nonstop demands of a 24/7 world. Everything is seemingly always available. Nothing ever shuts down, and neither do people. The result of this continuing type of lifestyle is reflected in fewer hours per night of sleep, which very quickly translates into fatigue. Chronic fatigue, in turn, is not simply a personal issue but one that can impact how a person performs, or, perhaps more accurately, does not perform his or her job.

Various work-related research studies have revealed some remarkable information regarding how workers perform when they are fatigued. First of all, the population in general needs seven to nine hours of sleep each night. However, almost a third of workers get less than six hours on average. Fatigue causes the lack of ability to focus, loss of muscle coordination, issues with memory and greater distractibility. One study showed that a person trying to perform after 18 hours of being awake is the same as someone with a 0.50 BAC. Other research estimates that 13% of all work-related injuries are the result of lack of sleep.

Workers' compensation was developed as a no-fault type of system to address worker injury without needing to prove employer liability. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires a company to determine if fatigue is a factor in its place of business and take steps to manage and control it. Some solutions to minimize the effects of fatigue include limiting overtime, avoiding permanent placement on the night shift, providing employees a choice in setting their own schedule and adequate time off after several consecutive night shifts.

A person who is injured at work is entitled to prompt medical treatment, redress for lost wages and other benefits if applicable. An experienced workers' compensation can work to ensure that a client receives proper compensation.

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