Are your workers ‘sleep drunk’?

Are your workers ‘sleep drunk’?

More than a million Canadian workers could be so tired it’s comparable to drunkenness, according to a study.

Research from a UK study has revealed half  of workers get between five and seven hours of sleep a night and go to work in a 'semi-conscious' state.

According to Statistics Canada, 13 per cent of women and 17 per cent of men are getting less than 6.5 hours of sleep a night, putting them at risk of “sleep drunkenness”.

This means more than a million Canadian workers are heading to the office in the same mental condition as being drunk – especially a concern for those working in transport or with heavy machinery. “Being ‘sleep drunk’ is a common issue that causes personal and work life issues and a healthy lifestyle is at the heart of solving it,” said Tony Massey, Vielife’s chief medical officer. Most people needed to get more than seven hours sleep a night to avoid such ‘sleep risk’, the study says.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety says fatigue in the workplace can be increased by dim lighting, high temperatures, high noise. Tasks that last a long time or that are repetitive, boring and monotonous can also contribute.

Shift-workers are more likely to be affected than those who work a consistent Monday to Friday, 40 hour week.

CCOHS suggests developing on-site accommodations if your workplace is high risk. Prepare meals for workers and an area where they can nap before driving home could reduce the risks for employees.

How you can help keep workers alert in the workplace:

  • good lighting
  • comfortable temperatures
  • reasonable noise levels
  • tasks that provide a variety of interest and tasks
  • tasks that change throughout the shift.