Photo of Attorney Jeff Chandler
It’s Your Life. I’m Your Lawyer

NSC reports high rate of fatigue in safety-critical industries

Residents of South Carolina may be able to recognize times when they are fatigued during work, but some are unaware of the dangers of work-related fatigue. A survey from the National Safety Council has turned up some intriguing statistics on this matter. Approximately 69 percent of all employees feel tired at work, and those most at risk are shift workers in the manufacturing, utilities, construction and transportation industries.

Most are aware of what may be causing their fatigue; for example, all construction workers reported that they experienced at least one risk factor for fatigue, the most common being long shifts and sleep loss. Reportedly, 97 percent of employees in transportation knew the impact of fatigue: the highest percentage in any safety-critical industry.

In general, though, there was a discrepancy between how employers view fatigue and how employees do. About 90 percent of employers understood how fatigue impacts their organization, causing drops in productivity and requiring employee observation. By contrast, 72 percent of employees thought of fatigue as a safety concern.

Because employees may be desensitized to the dangers of fatigue, it’s important that employers train them on the causes and consequences of fatigue. Fatigue is often the result of work-related stress, which can also lead to burnout and chronic conditions like depression and anxiety. Tired employees also become distracted or disengaged employees.

Workers who injure themselves through their own fault can still file a claim with the workers’ compensation program to be compensated for their medical expenses and for any short- or long-term disability leave. The benefits may also cover a percentage of lost wages. Since claims can be denied, victims might want a lawyer. With representation, they may even strive for a settlement without the need for a hearing. The lawyer may explain the difference between South Carolina’s clincher agreements and Form 16A settlements.