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5 Reasons Managing Worker Fatigue Is Important

It’s well documented that adults today aren’t getting enough sleep. And more employers are acknowledging the negative impact this can have on their workers and their business. Recently, Enform raised awareness of the issue by developing a set of guiding principles to address the risks associated with fatigue. Still not convinced you should be doing something about it? Here are 5 reasons to change your mind:

1. Managing worker fatigue will reduce safety risks

For commercial vehicle drivers and others who perform safety sensitive work, fatigue can lead one to doze off behind the wheel or nod off while operating dangerous machinery. And it’s not just falling asleep that’s the problem. Safety can also be compromised by delayed reaction times and poor hand-eye coordination. Fatigue has even been compared to impairment caused by alcohol, and it is believed to play a role in about 20% of all fatal collisions.[1] If your drivers are involved in a fatigue-related crash, you could be liable.

2. It can improve the health of your workers

Because fatigue and sleep apnea (a common sleep disorder that causes fatigue) have been linked to other significant health conditions, managing them will keep your workers healthy and help prevent you from paying for disability and other medical benefit claims related to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and depression. All of these conditions are linked to sleep apnea.

3. It can reduce absenteeism and improve employee retention

Managing fatigue results in fewer missed work days from short-term disability. It can also raise retention rates. One study out of a trucking company in the U.S. showed that drivers treated for sleep apnea had a 60 percent higher retention rate when compared with the fleet average for drivers who were not treated.[2]

4. It can improve productivity in your workplace

Even if your employees don’t perform safety sensitive work, fatigue can interfere with the amount of work they can complete in a given time and the quality of their work. Shift workers in particular are at a higher risk of dozing off at some point during their shift. Addressing fatigue in your workplace can help increase your employees’ alertness and concentration so that they can continue to perform their job effectively and your operations continue to run efficiently.

5. It can reduce costs

Treating your employees for sleep apnea and putting other fatigue management measures in place can help lower your total health plan costs and lower the rate of short-term disability claims.[3] In the case of one trucking company in the U.S., treating drivers for sleep apnea led to an average health care savings of $539 per driver. [4]

Now that you know the risks associated with fatigue and the benefits of addressing the problem, be pro-active. Get in touch with us for more information on how to get started with a sleep apnea and/or fatigue management program for your workplace.



[1] Transport Canada. (2011). Road Safety in Canada. Ottawa, Ontario. Available at: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/roadsafety/tp-tp15145-1201.htm#intro1.

[2] Nguyen, Terrence. (October 4, 2006). Schneider: sleep apnea treatment pays off. Fleet Owner. Available online: http://fleetowner.com/management/news/sleep_apnea_treatment.

[3] Hoffman, Benjamin, Wingenbach, Dustin D., Kagey, Amy N. Schaneman, Justin L., & Kasper, David. (May 2010). The Long-Term Health Plan and Disability Cost Benefit of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment in a Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Population. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 52(5):473-477. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181dbc8ab.

[4] Nguyen, Terrence. (October 4, 2006). Schneider: sleep apnea treatment pays off. Fleet Owner. Available online: http://fleetowner.com/management/news/sleep_apnea_treatment.