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Sleeping on the Job

Apr 16, 2015

If your business operates a midnight shift, be alert to employees' sleepiness both on the job and when they are ready to drive home after their shift. Nightshift employees are among the top high-risk groups of sleep-starved drivers.

Night-shift, early-morning, and rotating-shift workers usually get much less shuteye than employees who work traditional first-shift hours. The sleep they do get is fragmented. People who work long hours, have multiple jobs, provide primary care to family members such as young children or elderly parents, or attend school in addition to working may suffer from lack of adequate sleep. So they're often extremely tired when they get behind the wheel of a car--and that makes them dangerous drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that driving between mid-night and 6 a.m., or driving home after an extended work period, shifts the risk of drowsy driving crashes into high gear.

Most people need eight hours of uniterrupted sleep within a 24-hour period to be fully rested and stay alert. The National Sleep Foundation says caffeine may help people stay awake, but its effects will be temporary at best. If someone has already been downing cupfuls of caffeine through coffee or other beverages, it likely will be useles. Drivers can't safely fight road fatigue by rolling the windows down, playing a loud radio or using other popular quick fixes, either.

As an employer, you play a vital role in your workers' driving safety, says the NHTSA. Consider implementing effective strategies for scheduling shift changes. Depending on your company's ability to support such a program, you could provide a specific place and designated amount of time for nightshift workers to literally sleep on the job. It sounds counterproductive, but it's safer than putting a sleepy employee behind a steering wheel.

You can call Plapp Insurance at 1-800-820-7575 or use our contact form.

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