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Fatigue provides the silent cause of many workplace accidents

Long hours at work and inadequate sleep quietly take a toll on workers in New Jersey and nationwide. Sleep researchers have determined that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep daily, but roughly 30% of civilian workers fail to get six hours of sleep as of the mid-2000s according to the National Health Interview Survey. Sleep deprivation reduces muscle coordination and raises the risk of falling, stumbling or dropping objects. Cognitive difficulties also arise that erode workers' ability to function.

In general, people have a poor ability to recognize the impairment caused by lack of sleep. They continue to work long hours unaware of the risk. The chance of injury goes up when shifts exceed eight hours. At 10 hours, risks rise by 13%. At 12 hours, the dangers jump by 27.5%. Overall, researchers estimate that sleep deprivation contributes to 13% of workplace injuries. An estimated 20% of the population puts in over 48 hours on the job every week.

Some industries have greater problems with fatigued workers than others. In manufacturing, 34.1% of workers fail to get adequate sleep. People who work the night shift have the greatest difficulty obtaining sufficient sleep with 44% of them sleeping under six hours a night.

Demands to work long hours and inadequate time off could wear down people and create hazards at the workplace. When accidents happen on the job, workers' compensation benefits are supposed to pay for medical treatment and, in some cases, replace a portion of wages lost during the recovery period. An attorney can often be of assistance in the preparation and filing of the required claim documentation.

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