Why Sleep Is Important for Workplace Safety – and How to Encourage It

poor sleep has worker tired and asleep on job

 

Sleep is not only important for overall energy level at work, but essential for our overall health condition. Poor sleep habits can lead to blood pressure problems, which in turn can lead to a number of health issues. In this issue we’ll be looking at sleep, why it matters for workplace safety, and how to encourage all your staff to get a good night’s sleep.

Focus on Safety

A worker’s body needs to slow down and rest to keep the heart healthy. A well-rested body is linked to a healthy heart. Sleep is important for health and the link between sleep and safety is clearly important as well.

man can't get god night's sleepWhen a worker is well rested, they are more alert and less likely to make mistakes that could result in an accident. Lack of sleep impacts a person’s cognitive functions, which can mean lack of focus and less than optimal decision making. The workplace may demand attention on work tasks, but also demands a worker’s attention to potential safety issues. A worker’s daily assignments and safety awareness are impaired when they are not well rested.

Poor sleep and low energy at work can lead to “cutting corners,” taking safety risks that result in accidents. When considering a job that requires operating machinery or a vehicle, we know how essential focus is for safety. The same focus requirement applies to many others and their respective job functions. Thus lack of sleep is a well-known cause of work-related injuries.

Be a Healthy Sleep Coach

A rested and alert worker is less likely to be injured or miss work. Business owners, supervisors and others concerned with productivity would do well to strongly encourage restful sleep for their workers. A well-rested employee is far more productive and less prone to work place accidents. Work place accidents can lead to secondary impacts such as low morale and lower retention rates. Encourage a good night’s sleep and improve the health of your employees and your business at the same time.

The Encouragement Approach

workers at construction siteWhat are some things managers can do to encourage good sleep and improve workplace safety?

First make sure to inform your employees of the need for good sleep and other healthful habits at every practical opportunity, such as safety meetings and safety training sessions. Training is an essential component of all safety programs and important guidance on healthy sleep should be included in the overall health and safety plan. Are your workers well informed on your company’s medical plan and available assistance with sleep-related health issues?

Next make sure management is not part of the problem. Are there extended overtime demands on staff that could be better resolved with new or temporary staff? Are workers frequently being moved from day to shift to the night shift and back? Shift changes can disrupt a person’s sleep.  Are there forums or other opportunities for workers to discuss work related issues that can lead to sleep issues or other safety problems.

Promoting a Culture of Workplace Safety

By encouraging your team to get a good night’s sleep, the health of your employees and your business will both improve.

If you have more questions about workplace safety or are interested in safety training classes, contact us today.