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Report shows fatigue is workplace injury risk

Employers and employees in North Carolina may be interested in the results of a recently released national study. The study was conducted by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and it suggests that many common workplace injuries, such as back injuries, foot and knee injuries and neck injuries, are often related to fatigue.

The study indicates that about 38 percent of the American workforce suffers from fatigue, which may sometimes jeopardize the ability to safely perform job-related tasks. The study's authors concluded that employers can improve workplace safety by introducing training and measures to combat fatigue.

Authors of the study advise employers to implement fatigue risk management systems in order to foster safer workplaces.

Some of the suggested components of such a program are:

  • Identify fatigue-related risks in the workplace and take steps to address them.
  • Provide fatigue management training for the workforce.
  • Create a fatigue reporting system for employees.
  • Implement an audit system and continually improve upon the existing fatigue management system.

This study is certainly coming from the angle of employers and human resource professionals, who would like to manage risks in the workplace. Nonetheless, if fatigue truly is a contributing factor in workplace accidents, it is certainly important that employers work to combat this.

Safety training is typically viewed as the responsibility of the employer in North Carolina. And, as the North Carolina Department of Labor recently announced, every single fatal workplace accident that took place in the state in 2011 could have been prevented with proper safety and health training in the workplace.

Source: Business Insurance, "Fatigue risk management can improve workplace safety" Feb. 13, 2012

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