A Sioux City Journal article examines the impact of sleep deprivation on work, such as workplace errors and accidents.
When employees don’t get adequate sleep, it doesn’t just result in performing like a zombie, there can be serious consequences for employees and employers.
A Harvard Medical School study in the Archives of General Psychiatry found insomnia also attributes to workplace errors and accidents. With 1 in 5 of the study participants displaying symptoms of insomnia, 43% admitted to having made serious error or experiencing an accident in the past year. Some estimates put the costs to employers at $31.1 billion in workplace accidents.
According to Mark Raymond, BS, REEGT with Mercy Medical Neurophysiology and Sleep Lab, “the effect on the workplace from lack of sleep is not only expensive but getting only four hours of sleep nightly for a week might be akin to the equivalent to a blood alcohol level of .1 percent — possibly making it safer to be drunk than sleep impaired once you reach a certain level.”
“In my business of attaching electrodes to heads for EEG’s or monitoring sleep, there probably wouldn’t be consequences that would be considered dangerous other than misplacing some monitors; however, if you’re an engineer of a train, the consequences could be deadly if you drifted off to sleep,’ Raymond says.