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Sleep problems increase risk for injuries at work

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  • Work

Sleep Education Archive  |  May 12, 2010
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Managers take notice - sleep problems can cost businesses big bucks. New research indicates employees who have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep are more at risk for workplace injury.

In a study published in the May 1st issue of SLEEP, Canadian researchers found this was especially true for blue collar workers.

The authors pulled data from the 2000-2001 “Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle.”

The study only included survey participants who were 15 to 64 years old and worked full-time or part-time. Individuals who suffered non-work related injuries were excluded from the study.

Researchers identified 65,485 uninjured workers and 4,099 people who had a work-related injury in the past 12 months. Survey respondents were categorized by gender, job class, and hours per week.

Researchers focused on participants’ responses to the following fields:

“How often do you have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep?”
“Number of hours spent sleeping per night”
“The frequency that sleep is refreshing”
“How often it is difficult to stay awake”
“Sleeping pills taken last month”

By analyzing each of these elements, the authors found those who reported problems sleeping were more likely to report work injuries. Women in this case were more frequently injured than men.

Workers who slept less than six hours per night were at higher risk for injury than people who slept 7-9 hours.

The most injury-prone industries for men were trade and transportation jobs; for women it was processing and manufacturing jobs.

Injury rates also spiked among shift workers. Those with rotating or split shifts were at highest risk.