Construction Fatigue Research/studies Construction

‘There’s a business case’: Study of construction workers links poor sleep to injury risk

Reprints
tired-worker.jpg
Photo: Willowpix/iStockphoto

Fort Collins, CO — Employers should prioritize efforts to help workers get a good night’s sleep, researchers from Colorado State University say after their study of construction workers found a connection between poor quality sleep and the risk of workplace incidents and injuries.

Construction workers from two public works departments in Portland, OR, completed three surveys over a 12-month period. The data collected, which was part of an Oregon Healthy Workforce Center study, was used to determine the respondents’ self-reported sleep quality and quantity, and was then compared with subsequent reports on safety behavior and workplace injuries.

Respondents who reported more insomnia symptoms, on average, experienced more “cognitive failures” – such as lapses in attention, memory or action – at work. More failures were related to an increase in minor injuries and a reduction in required and voluntary safety behaviors.

Among the cognitive failures:

  • Not remembering correct work procedures or if equipment was turned off.
  • Unintentionally pressing a control switch on machines.
  • Stopping or starting the wrong machine unintentionally.
  • Daydreaming instead of listening to a co-worker.

“Organizations, especially safety-sensitive ones like construction, should care about their employees’ sleep because it can impact the safety of the workplace and put workers at risk,” Rebecca Brossoit, study co-author and a CSU graduate student, said in a June 5 press release. “There’s a business case for caring about sleep.”

 

The study is scheduled to be published online Nov. 29 in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)