A recent poll indicates an estimated 30% of U.S. workers are getting by on less than six hours of sleep. Studies have shown conclusively that workers who are experiencing fatigue are at a higher risk for suffering a workplace injury. Tennessee workers who are injured on the job are typically entitled to file for benefits through the state’s workers’ compensation insurance program.

In this country, the idea that sleep is for unproductive people has taken root in many industries. Instead of striving to ensure that employees are able to get the necessary rest for optimal health and work productivity, many employers demand overtime and schedule workers for odd shifts. However, even just one night of decreased sleep increases the risk of a serious error in judgment on the part of a tired worker. For each successive night of poor sleep, the risk continues to rise.

It is estimated that approximately 13% of workplace injuries can be attributed to fatigue while 21% of fatal car accidents are the result of sleep deprivation. Many companies are being asked to consider implementing a fatigue risk management system. Part of this system would include investigating accidents to assess whether fatigue was a factor and educating both management and employees on the importance of establishing a healthy work-sleep balance. Some transportation companies have seen a decrease in accidents when truckers were screened for certain sleep disorders.

Whenever possible, companies are asked to limit shift work. Allowing employees to schedule their start times may permit them to arrange the schedule that works best for their needs. Regardless of the factors behind a serious job-related accident, Tennessee workers who are hurt often worry about meeting their family’s needs. An attorney experienced in handling workers’ compensation claims can help injured workers pursue recovery of the maximum available benefits.