Believe it or not, you don’t necessarily have to lift a heavy object or step on the wet and slippery floor to be at risk of workplace injury. Turns out, all you need to suddenly go from a perfectly healthy worker to an injured employee requiring workers’ compensation is to just… work. Work a lot and become fatigued.
You may think that the notion that fatigue can cause a workplace injury is absurd, but our Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney William J. Kropach reminds readers that major industrial disasters were triggered by fatigue (think: the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill).
“Well, how do I know that my workplace injury was caused by fatigue?” you may wonder. And that’s a good question. But before we delve into this question, it’s important to understand what is fatigue and why it can have devastating consequences if left unchecked.
The vast majority of Americans are employed in jobs that require them to work shifts. And according to multiple studies, working shifts interferes with the natural rhythm of the human body, which, if the body cannot adapt to the schedule, may result in chronic exhaustion, depression, and fatigue.
It’s nearly impossible to say that a certain employee is fatigued, while his colleague is well-rested and energized. However, only YOU can determine whether or not fatigue has taken a toll on your work performance, and possibly health, by analyzing your performance from a few months or years ago with your current performance.
These are the most common signs that you’re fatigued at work, and therefore, are at a higher risk of workplace injury:
Focus and attention span. A fatigued employee has trouble concentrating on specific tasks, his/her attention span and vigilance diminish, and he/she cannot think clearly at times. All these factors may contribute to a workplace injury, as they put a worker at a higher risk of missing potentially hazardous situations, or, on the other hand, creating dangerous conditions at work.
Decision-making. Just like your focus, thinking and attention span, decision-making is negatively affected by fatigue. A tired worker will be unable to make wise decisions all the time, which can lead to on-the-job injuries.
Reaction time. Fatigue also has an impact on reaction time, which can be dangerous and even deadly for certain workers (for example, those who are operating a machine or vehicle at work).
Physical signs of fatigue: anxiety, irritability, muscle pain, headache, drowsiness, loss of appetite, and others.
Drowsiness. A fatigued employee is more likely to doze off at work and experience drowsiness, which can put his life and the lives of others in danger in certain jobs.
Our Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer at Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach explains that lack of sleep is not the only cause of fatigue. Fatigue can also be caused by too much physical or mental work for prolonged periods of times with lack of rest.
Also, dealing with too many stressful situations at work can cause fatigue, and so can jobs with high levels of anxiety. Fatigue can also be caused by jobs that involve repetitive motions and repetitive tasks, which can result in workplace injuries.
Only a professional doctor can determine whether or not fatigue is responsible for your on-the-job injuries after evaluating your symptoms prior to the accident that left you injured.
If you’re being legally represented by a skilled lawyer, you can collect workers’ compensation benefits after proving that fatigue caused your on-the-job injury and made you temporarily or permanently disabled.
Let our lawyers at Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach examine your particular case to say whether or not you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Contact our attorneys to get a free consultation today. Call our Los Angeles offices at 818-609-7005 or complete this contact form.