Sleepy workers lead to workplace dangers

Group says 30-40% of workforce is sleep deprived

DENVER — Feeling sleepy at work? You're not alone. Workers' compensation company Pinnacol Assurance says 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. workforce is sleep deprived. That's hurting productivity and affecting safety at workplaces.

"When you’re not getting enough sleep your reaction time slows down, you don’t make decisions as quickly as if you had gotten enough sleep," says Ellen Sarvay, a safety consultant with Pinnacol Assurance.

June is national safety month and Sarvay says studies show lack of sleep leads to higher injury rates. Long term, sleep-deprived workers are also at a greater risk of developing illnesses like heart disease. Sarvay says employers could benefit by encouraging their staff to sleep.

"A lot of times when we talk to our employers they say there’s not a whole lot I can do if my employee isn’t getting enough sleep, so what we want to encourage our employers to do is bump up that awareness."

Employers can help by encouraging workers to disconnect from devices and emails in the evening, and providing nap rooms for shift workers.

"I’ve even heard of companies that even talk about when folks go on vacation they don’t let them get emails," Sarvay said.

Sarvay suggests workers try to improve their sleep by keeping their rooms cool, dark and quiet. In the summer, that may mean running the air conditioner and using blackout curtains, as well as keeping your cell phone on silent.

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