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Mid-afternoon has hazards for workers

Anyone in Minnesota who has worked an office job is likely familiar with the period after lunch when it is easy to feel tired and perhaps even to accidentally fall asleep. For construction workers, this dip carries an even greater hazard as it can lead to serious injury or death; sleep and workplace safety have been found to be linked. According to the National Sleep Foundation, workers who are under substantial fatigue are 75 percent more likely to be involved in an accident and almost twice as likely to be killed on the job. When fatigue meets the mid-afternoon dip, results can be disastrous.

However, for construction site managers, paying attention to the schedule can help minimize risk. For instance, if a given worker has to perform a dangerous task, arranging the workday so that the task is not being done right after lunch can be helpful. For workers who do repetitive tasks, switching tasks during the mid-afternoon dip can help improve productivity and minimize accident risk.

Sleep enough can have many benefits. Sleep promotes the growth of muscle tissue, which means that injured workers who get enough sleep may be able to return to work faster. Fatigue related to sleep ends up costing about $150 billion per year across various industries as productivity decreases, the frequency of accidents increases and absenteeism becomes more common.

Following a workplace injury, a workers' compensation insurance claim can allow the worker to have any needed medical treatment and potentially a portion of his or her lost income compensated. However, claims are sometimes denied. A workers' compensation lawyer could determine if the claim was denied for a valid reason. Additionally, if the employer was found to be contributing to the circumstances of the accident, the lawyer could seek to file a lawsuit instead of the insurance claim.

Source: Business Insurance, "Beware workers' 'mid-afternoon dip', safety adviser warns", Stephanie Goldberg, June 12, 2014

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