Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Study Workplace Fatigue Common Costly

The effects of fatigue on worker safety ...

"Nearly 40 percent of U.S. workers experience fatigue – a problem that costs employers billions in lost productivity, according to a study that is detailed in the January Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Led by Judith Ricci, Sc.D., MS, of Caremark Rx Inc., the researchers analyzed data from a nationwide study of the relationship between health and productivity at work. The study examined the effects of fatigue on health-related absenteeism and "presenteeism," or days the employee was at work but performing at less than full capacity because of health reasons.

Of the nearly 29,000 employed adults interviewed, 38 percent said they had experienced "low levels of energy, poor sleep or a feeling of fatigue" during the past 2 weeks. Total lost productive time averaged 5.6 hours per week for workers with fatigue, compared to 3.3 hours for their counterparts without fatigue.

According to the researchers, the rate of lost productivity for all health-related reasons also was much higher for workers with fatigue: 66 percent, compared with 26 percent for workers without fatigue.

Nine percent of workers with fatigue reported lost productive work time. According to the researchers, fatigue reduced work performance mainly by interfering with concentration and increasing the time needed to accomplish tasks.

With adjustment for other factors, fatigue was more common in women than men, in workers less than 50 years old and in white workers compared with African-Americans. Workers with "high-control" jobs – relatively well-paid jobs with decision-making responsibility – also reported higher rates of fatigue."    (Continued via Occupational Hazards)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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