If they’re like most other U.S. workers, your workers are probably tired. In fact, nearly three-quarters of America’s workers arrive at work tired, according to a study by staffing firm Accountemps. The study estimated that employee exhaustion costs the economy $411 billion annually through mistakes, missed opportunities and other goofs that can befall tired workers. The Accountemps survey included responses from more than 2,800 adult workers from offices in 28 cities in the U.S.

In factories and production facilities, tiredness can also lead to accidents. Research by OSHA found that accident and injury rates are 18 percent greater during evening shifts and 30 percent greater during night shifts when compared to day shifts. Increased sleep problems and risk for injury among full-time employees increase in relation to the number of hours worked per week. Tiredness can lead directly to reduced motor skills and fine coordination, impaired concentration, poor communication, and poor judgment, which simply don’t mix well in a work environment.

Chronic tiredness simply isn’t good for human beings, even when it’s not having an impact on business. Quite simply, it’s bad for human health to not get enough sleep. A good night’s rest is how the body recovers and returns to a productive state, but about a third of Americans suffer from sleep deprivation every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Are Your Workers Tired?

As an employer, it’s your job to evaluate your staff is working in tip-top shape, and this includes monitoring them for signs of fatigue that can result in accidents. In fact, it’s recommended that companies help their workers and their business operate more safely by providing information on fatigue and sleep in both safety guidelines and job orientations. You can also develop a fatigue management plan.

What’s a Fatigue Management Plan?

A fatigue risk management plan (or fatigue management plan) is a document that brings together all the causes, controls and strategies for dealing with fatigue in the workplace in order to keep team members safe. Centrally, it instructs workers about the importance of getting enough sleep, and the steps that they can take if they’re not, such as lifestyle changes, time management and seeing a doctor if nothing else works.

Other Things You Can Do

Ensure workers are getting adequate breaks. This means not only breaks during the day but that workers are getting adequate vacation and sick time to ensure they’re always showing up for work in the best possible state of alertness.

Match shifts to people. Some people work better early in the morning but a flag in the late afternoon. Others aren’t fully awake until later in the day and operate at their best after typical work hours. If you’re running multiple shifts, try and match workers to the shifts that work best for them.

Look for signs of tiredness. With some people, you can see it in their faces. With others, it takes a new pattern of mistakes to signify tiredness. Look for formerly good workers whose performance has slackened, or simply circulate a survey and ask workers if they’re getting enough rest.

Hire professional safety experts. Professional workplace health and safety organizations can help you ensure your employees are getting enough rest. In addition to providing first aid supplies and protective equipment, SoCal First Aid/Respond Systems also offers on-site safety training that improves the welfare and productivity of your workers.

We will work with you to train your employees on safety best practices and establish a fatigue management plan. Contact us at 800-480-5855 or visit our Web site for more information.