Workers' Compensation claims might result from sleep deprivation

Health care workers, police officers and big rig operators in California might be interested in the results of a recent study in another state. It involved an analysis of data from a National Health Interview Survey, which was conducted among 15,000 adults between 2010 and 2018. The survey participants submitted self-reports of their sleep patterns and duration. Many workers' compensation claims every year follow workplace injuries caused by sleep-deprived workers.

According to the research reports, the percentage of workers who sleep for fewer than seven hours per day rose by 4.7% over the eight-year period. Reportedly, approximately half of the health care workers and police responders to the survey indicated that they sleep for an average of five to six hours per day, while almost one in six firefighters reported that they suffered sleep deprivation. Further results showed that work-related accidents resulting from fatigue and sleep disturbances are par for the course for most shift workers.

Further findings noted other adverse consequences of sleep deprivation, including poor mental health, binge drinking and nicotine use. Sleeping problems are also linked to stress, which is an occupational hazard for health care workers, police officers and paramedics who never know what that will have to deal with on the next call. Having to make split-second decisions in life-and-death situations exacerbates the stress levels of most of these workers.

Although the California workers' compensation system has the backs of injured workers, many of the health consequences of sleep deprivation are challenging to prove to be work-related. Fortunately, help is available. An attorney with experience in fighting for the rights of injured workers can provide valuable advocacy throughout the administrative and legal proceedings of the benefits claims process.

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