As our economy demands more and more from its workers, hours are becoming longer for employees. This often means that employees can work well in excess of the normal work week which sets them up for exhaustion and fatigue. It’s a fact that when we are tired we tend to be more prone to accidents. We are less aware of our surroundings and we are not as able to react as quickly to prevent an injury. The impact of worker fatigue can be substantial for a worker’s compensation claim.
Fatigue is more than feeling like you need a nap. Fatigue is a feeling of exhaustion that has come on over a sustained period of time. That time can be days or weeks. It can have a profound effect on all aspects of your life. We are not built to work hour after hour with no rest in between. Our bodies need at least 7 hours to rest and recharge. Here are some of the signs of fatigue:
- Delayed reflexes. Reaction time can be significantly reduced when we are fatigued. In some job settings, this can be dangerous or even fatal.
- Slow or impaired decision-making. We tend to make poor decisions when we are exhausted to the point of fatigue. This impact of worker fatigue is critical because a bad decision in some work places can be dangerous for many employees.
- Attention span is impaired. When we have fatigue, we have a harder time concentrating on specific tasks. If we cannot think clearly, work can get overlooked setting up a dangerous situation.
- Dozing off at work due to lack of sleep or rest.
- When we have fatigue we may feel any of the following: muscle aches or pains, change in appetite, stomach distress, sleepiness, anxiety, headaches, or frustration.
The Impact of Worker Fatigue
Imagine you are trying to accomplish your job, day after day, week after week with little to no breaks. This builds up and over time, accidents can, and will happen. As our brain is tired, we may make calculation mistakes. If you work in an industry where measurements matter, this can create problems. When our body is fatigued, we may not pay as close attention to our surroundings. If you work around tools, this can be a recipe for disaster.
Now imagine that you are injured on the job while doing your normal duties. However, you have been working extra long hours for weeks due to the lack of manpower in your industry. You are tired when you arrive at work and when you leave to go home. When you are injured, the worker’s compensation insurance company will assign someone to your claim. Assuming you have gone to one of their list of doctors or the Emergency Room if it was an emergency, and you have filed this properly with your company, you will be assigned an adjuster.
Your claims adjuster will ask you questions about your injury. As he/she look into your work environment, he will undoubtedly see your work ethic and all of the hours you have been at the company. Worker’s Comp is a “no fault” system which means you do not have to prove that your employer caused your accident. However, here is where the impact of worker fatigue comes into play.
Let’s say you fell at work but you just don’t recall how it happened. You tell your adjuster, “I have been working so much lately. I am just so tired. I do not recall exactly how I fell but I woke up at the bottom of the stairs.” This can create a problem.
If you have been injured at work, contact us. We can review your situation for free. You shouldn’t need to learn to navigate the complex laws of a worker’s compensation issue. That is why we are here. Ty has been helping employees for years with worker’s comp claims. Contact us here.