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Sleep deprivation, work environment drive on-the-job fatigue: study

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Boulder, CO – Inadequate amounts of sleep and work environment factors are “major drivers” of occupational fatigue, which can hamper job performance and result in errors and injuries, according to a study from the University of Colorado Boulder.

The study defines fatigue as “a decreased ability to perform activities at the desired level due to lassitude or exhaustion of mental and/or physical strength.”

Researchers reviewed existing literature to determine the causes and consequences of job-related fatigue. Among them: increased workload, loss of sleep, work environment noise and temperature, and long hours.

As a result of these factors, researchers concluded that fatigue “decreases the ability to process and react to new information and respond to hazards.”

More than 20 percent of U.S. workers experience on-the-job fatigue, resulting in $136.4 billion in lost productivity and health care costs annually, according to the study.

The research was published in the October issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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