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Sleep deprivation can cause fatal workplace injuries

At a recent webinar, a fleet manager explained the impact of sleep deprivation on the trucking industry in Iowa and across the country. The lack of sleep can cause not only serious road accidents but also workplace injuries. The message of the webinar was for corporate America to realize that sleep management programs can improve the effectiveness and well-being of employees significantly.

One of the professional speakers -- a chief medical officer -- noted that some of the greatest disasters were fatigue related, including the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the explosion of the Challenger and the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. Workers who are deprived of sleep struggle to focus, and this typically leads to less productivity and more workplace accidents and injuries. It was mentioned that, on average, eight days of productivity is lost by each worker who is sleep-deprived -- when compared to workers who are well-rested.

It was also noted that Americans have a culture of not sleeping enough. Experts say this causes hormonal imbalances that lead to weight gain and the buildup of toxic waste in the brain. It also gives rise to diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and an increased mortality risk. While many people simply do not sleep enough, a large percentage suffer from insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome -- all conditions that can be treated effectively to allow restful nights.

One aspect that makes sleep deprivation potentially disastrous is the fact that one fatigued person can cause workplace injuries -- or even deaths -- to many others in the vicinity. This goes for truck drivers and workers in any other industry. Victims of workplace accidents -- or the surviving family members of workers who died in on-the-job accidents -- may pursue compensation through the Iowa workers' compensation insurance program.

Source:, "Eye opening impacts of poor sleep", Kevin Jones, June 16, 2016

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