Worker exhaustion is often praised as an example of excellent commitment to a job. People who leave a job late and show back up still tired the next day are said to have good work ethics. Regardless of a person’s commitment to a given job or position, being fatigued at work is actually quite dangerous. Some Illinois workers may even need workers’ compensation benefits for injuries related to on-the-job fatigue.
According to the Illinois Department of Labor, workplace fatigue is a growing epidemic. In a recent news release, the department’s director stated that on-the-job fatigue is not a failing of the worker, but is a workplace safety problem. Perceptions about what workplace safety entails — such as safety training and equipment — has perhaps prevented some people from paying as much attention to the problem of fatigue.
Multiple studies have shown that fatigue contributes to at least 13% of injuries in the workplace. Additionally, 43% of workers in America report that they have shown up to work while too tired to safely fulfill their job duties. The U.S. Department of Labor also cites fatigue as a contributing factor in a number of devastating industrial disasters. Not only is fatigue dangerous, it also costs employers about $136 billion every year for lost productivity.
While anyone can suffer from work-related fatigue, Illinois residents who work long or irregular shifts or have long commutes are especially at risk. Working a 12-hour shift — which health care and safety workers frequently do — raises the risk of injury by approximately 40%. Employers should provide necessary training and minimize situations in which workers may become fatigued, but this is not always enough. When a worker is injured because of workplace fatigue or any other on-the-job injury, he or she may need to file for workers’ compensation benefits in order to recover.