Construction Worker Fatigue Leads to Worksite Accidents
November 14, 2018
Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. Falls from ladders and scaffolding, struck by swinging or falling objects, and becoming wedged between materials or equipment are common in this industry. When construction workers are feeling fatigued on the job, the risk of suffering injuries or death increase dramatically.
Safety Experts Urge Employees and Employers to Assess their Level of Fatigue
The National Safety Council (NSC) recently released The Fatigue in Safety Critical Industries report following their study on the effect fatigue has on the safety of workers in the most dangerous lines of work. The NSC reports that 69 percent of all transportation, construction, and manufacturing workers surveyed said they suffer from fatigue at work. The group also acknowledged that they were well aware of the dangers of working while fatigued.
The NSC urged employers in the critical safety industries to assess the level of fatigue their workers felt. From there, they should initiate policies to reduce the potential for and the number of injuries and deaths related to accidents caused by fatigued workers. Not only do fatigued workers increase the risks of accidents for all workers, but also the costs associated with these accidents can be astonishing.
Causes and Symptoms of Fatigue
The NSC report outlined the most common causes and symptoms of worker fatigue.
Causes of Fatigue:
- Sleep deprivation related to health conditions and lifestyle
- Shift work
- Extended work days
- Repetitive tasks
- Physical work demands
- Work environment
Symptoms of Fatigue:
- Reduced energy
- Increased effort to perform basic job responsibilities
- Impaired judgment
- Slowed reaction time
- Inability to think clearly
- Short term memory loss
- High absenteeism
- Reduced productivity
- Increased accident and injury reports
Employee Initiatives Can Prevent Fatigue Related Accidents
There is not much that an employer can do to improve fatigue related to an employee’s health or lifestyle, but there are things that they can do to reduce fatigue at work. Employers can pay careful attention to the number of continuous hours their employees are working. Those working double shifts or varying night and day shifts can suffer from sleep deprivation.
Workers need scheduled breaks where they can rest and eat or drink water to replenish their bodies and reduce fatigue. Repetitive tasks can become boring and cause workers to feel fatigued. Rotating job responsibilities can help workers maintain their focus and not become fatigued due to boredom.
Workers with physically demanding jobs may need shorter work shifts, frequent breaks, or a reduced workload. Employers have a legal responsibility to provide a work environment free from unnecessary risks. Ensuring that workers have personal protective equipment, proper training, and supportive supervisors can go a long way in reducing job stress that can lead to fatigue.
Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Advocate for Construction Worker Safety
If you were injured in a construction accident, call the Philadelphia construction accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP at 800-222-USWA (8792), or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania and serve clients throughout the state.