Three in 10 employees experienced an accident or mistake because of tiredness

Almost half (46%) of employees regularly turn up to their jobs feeling too tired to work, making them more prone to making mistakes or feeling stressed.

A study looking at how tiredness and fatigue impacts performance found that three in 10 workers have had an accident, made a serious mistake or felt exceptionally stressed as a result of tiredness.

Almost a quarter (23%) of construction industry employees and 28% of manufacturing workers admitted falling asleep at work, despite being in industries with relatively high risk.

The survey of 1,000 UK employees, which was conducted by health and wellbeing provider Westfield Health, found 37% of people thought they were more likely to make a mistake or forget to do something as a result of feeling fatigued.

One respondent reported trapping their hand in a machine because they were tired, which had resulted in a disability, while another was in a coma for three days after they had an accident while working 66 hour week.

“Fatigue and tiredness is an issue that employers and particularly line managers should not overlook,” said Richard Holmes, director of wellbeing at Westfield Health. “Employers need to ensure there are clear health and safety regulations in place around fatigue, especially in industries that require high levels of concentration.

“The importance of rest time both at work and at home should be taken seriously and encouraged by employers, and fatigue should be considered just as important as any other physical injury or illness.”

Fourteen per cent of men and 9% of women admitted they had purposely taken a nap at work. Just over a fifth said they had fallen asleep, while 13% said they had drifted off while driving.

Despite the mental and physical health and safety risks associated with tiredness at work, 86% did not feel confident enough to inform their line manager about the effect it was having on their performance. Only 9% said their employer would accept fatigue as a genuine reason to call in sick.

One in six said their organisation could do more to reduce the risk of accidents and mistakes occurring due to stress.

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