You’ve been working for eight hours, and you’re exhausted. You had to get up early and commute for an hour just to get to work. The work itself is physical and draining. You know you still have an hour drive ahead of you. All told, you just want to get home and rest.
Then your boss tells you that someone else called in sick for their shift. Promising to pay overtime, she asks you if you’re willing to work a second shift — or at least to put in a few more hours. You need the money, so you agree.
Has this request from your boss actually increased the odds that you’re going to get injured on the job?
The risk of being tired at work
Researchers have studied the impact of fatigue on work, and they have found a link to higher injury rates. For instance, if a worker has a sleep issue that leaves them chronically fatigued, their injury risks are 1.62 times higher than those of others in the workforce. These sleep issues cause about 13% of overall injuries on the job.
And your lack of sleep is only part of it. Consider that you’re doing a physical job and your body is fatigued, as well. If you have to lift a heavy item, can you do it safely and with proper form? If you have to work around hazards like electrical lines, will you always remember your personal protection equipment and the safety steps you should take?
In almost all areas of life, you’re bound to see a deterioration of skills and abilities as you get tired. Your body and mind both need time to rest and recharge. This is true while you’re at work, and it could mean that you get hurt during those overtime hours.
What should you do next?
If you do suffer an on-the-job injury, then you need to know how to get workers’ compensation. You may end up missing extended time and/or having to go to the hospital for treatment, and your compensation can help to cover these costs during a challenging time.