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As building production increases, so too does hiring, and the pressure to not let projects fall behind schedule often results in a hectic work schedule filled with long hours. As such, construction workers are doing their best to keep pace at jobsites, but the silent killer—fatigue—makes meeting the demand seem impossible and dangerous. This danger is present not only for the workers but also for their colleagues and loved ones.

Site workers aren’t getting the proper rest that they need and it’s putting them and their coworkers at risk. In addition to the physically demanding work, long commutes and lack of sleep are also contributing factors to tiredness, leading to increased accidents at work, traffic hazards, health issues and more.

The Dangers Of Fatigue

Fatigue is extreme tiredness which usually results from mental or physical exertion such as physical labor or illness, or from sleep disorders including obstructive sleep apnea. Fatigue is common, as it currently exists in 97 percent of workplaces due to high-risk factors such as stress and sleep loss.

A construction worker affected by fatigue may experience decreased productivity, impaired decision making, moodiness such as irritability and anxiety, memory and concentration issues, confusion and extreme exhaustion.

When these symptoms of fatigue are paired with jobsite equipment such as machinery, power tools, ladders and heights, the potential for a workplace accident dramatically increases. Not only will fatigued workers find it difficult to complete tasks on time, but they find it tough to uphold or fully pay attention to safety regulations. These implications also result in expensive workers’ compensation claims and site delays or shutdowns, which negatively impact projects and the business itself.

Operational Cost

The National Safety Council estimates that declining performance from fatigue can cost employers up to $3,100 annually per employee and that 43 percent of workers are sleep-deprived. If four of a company’s 10 employees are sleep deprived, that company could be losing up to $12,400 annually, which can be a lot of money for a small business. By the same math, if 40 out of 100 employees at a larger business are sleep-deprived, that’s as much as $124,000 in performance-related losses.

No matter the size of a business, tired employees can work slower than well-rested workers, and that can make it more difficult to meet deadlines. The longer a company spends on one project, the longer it takes to move onto the next one, further compounding the cost of fatigue. As many in this industry already know, proactive solutions are almost always less expensive than reactive, so employers need to stay on top of fatigue.

Make Fatigue Prevention Easy

Preventing fatigue can be easy. From an organizational standpoint, there are many turnkey programs to easily screen, test and treat all site workers on behalf of the company, thereby limiting exposure and liability, and increasing overall safety. Workers don’t have to go to a doctor’s offices for expensive tests while sleeping connected to tons of wires and machines. Employers can simply contact healthcare or durable medical equipment providers for at-home tests. At the individual level, one of the most important things employees can do for overall jobsite safety is to set aside enough time for a full night’s sleep, or between six and eight hours.

Don’t let fatigue cause construction delays, injuries, financial setbacks or even deaths for employees or others sharing jobsites. Everyone doing their part can result in safer, more productive projects—and in turn even more business.


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