A title like that will perk up most safety supervisors' ears, ready to hunt down the alcoholics on site.
If I had said, "69% of Your Workers are Fatigued", it wouldn't get nearly the same reaction.
So, here we are--me lying to get your attention, you still out there listening for clinking bottles.
Come back. They're not drunk. They're just tired.
"Workplace fatigue is an epidemic" (EHS).
And those workers may as well all be drunk. Because the cognitive impact of being fatigued is just as harmful as being drunk, if not more.
"Starving the body of sleep robs neurons of the ability to function properly" (Professor Itzhak Fried, UCLA).
When you're tired or drunk, your neurons "respond more slowly, take longer, and send weaker signals" according to Professor Fried's research.
This is why both drunk and tired people can experience memory lapses, have difficulty concentrating, and react more slowly to stimuli.
Sounds pretty dangerous, right? Especially if you consider the fact that fatigue is most prevalent in the very industries where it's most destructive--manufacturing, utilities, construction and transportation. (NSC)
Consider these two scenarios:
- Crane operator Alan spent much of the night tending to his daughter, who had become ill. Alan got only two full hours of sleep and has been awake since 2:00 a.m.
- Forklift operator Ernie's one beer with lunch in fact became three, plus a shot of bourbon. Still, Ernie has a lot of cargo to move this afternoon.
When considering the safety risk posed by Alan versus Ernie, many of us may react with the notion that Ernie poses the more significant risk, because he is likely intoxicated. In addition, some may prefer to focus on Ernie because his behavior deserves a punitive response.
In reality, the risk posed by Alan's lack of sleep could be just as severe as the risk posed by Ernie's intoxication. Maybe even more so. There could be other factors that amplify Alan's impairment, too. For example, the severity of his daughter's illness could be weighing on his mind and causing him emotional distress.
You may be wondering, "How could a fatigue management program have anything to do with sleep at home, much less emotional distress?"
Well, fatigue management doesn't have to be about only shift work-related fatigue, and it doesn't have to consist solely of placing limits on work hours and schedules.
Predictive Safety's PRISM™ and AlertMeter® platforms use employees' own input and performance data to identify impairment risk, whether from fatigue or other sources, including drugs and alcohol.
These platforms allow supervisor intervention before an impaired employee can pose a risk to safety, and they are completely non-intrusive.
Companies using PRISM™ or AlertMeter® have seen significant reductions in accidents and workers' comp claims, reductions in turnover, improvements in productivity, and better attendance during night shifts.
Plus, we've heard reports from AlertMeter® customers that it has identified instances of worker fatigue from dehydration, non-alertness due to emotional distress, cognitive impairment from side-effects of pain medication, and it has even led to employees admitting to having substance addiction problems.
Both Alan and Ernie may both be able to effectively hide their impaired states, especially if they work with little direct interaction with co-workers and supervisors. But if you had a way to discover their impairment— before they began operating their equipment—wouldn't you want to know?
That's exactly the hidden risk visibility that AlertMeter® and PRISM offer you. Schedule a free demo to learn how to integrate these technologies into your workplace and start controlling fatigue as much as you control alcohol use. After all, their implications for safety are equally destructive.