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Long, late hours lead to injuries at work

Some research has likened drowsy driving to the dangers of drunk driving — but what about drowsy working?

If you work one of the more dangerous jobs in Georgia, such as within the construction, oil, production or welding industries, you may be all too familiar with the dangers of the night shift.

The dangers

Shift work has been attributed to increased risk for certain diseases and illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease. Even for those who are fully rested for work, disrupting the body’s circadian rhythms and lacking in vitamin D can contribute to fatigue. This makes it difficult for a worker to remember important details, maintain high productivity, make logical decisions, coordinate motor skills and concentration.

In labor-intensive jobs, this fatigue can easily lead to accidents. In fact, during evening and night shifts the risk for accidents and injuries increases by 18 and 30 percent respectively, according to studies found in a recent report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Studies also found that in addition to work late hours, long hours may contribute to injuries too, as those who worked twelve-hour days were also at an increased risk of injury.

How to stay safe

Some psychologists are studying ways to help the almost 15 million Americans who regularly work night shifts. Some of these experiments include increasing the amount of light at work during the night and making sure subjects wear sunglasses and sleep in dark rooms during the daytime.

While this research may not yet have any short-cuts or tried and true resolutions, there are still some things you can do to reduce your risk for an accident during the night shift. Here are a couple strategies to try:

  • Take vitamin D supplements
  • Get a full night’s rest — without interruptions
  • Gradually decrease the amount of light you’re exposed to during the daytime and increase the light you are under at night
  • Avoid alcohol to experience your sleep cycle properly
  • Maintain your sleep schedule through the week — even on weekends

Report an injury

If you are hurt on the job, it's important to take action as soon as possible. In Georgia, workers have 30 days to give notice of an injury to an employer.

Next, an employer may be able to limit which physician you can see for a valid prognosis of your condition. A lawyer can help you file and fight for your claim to ensure you get the care you need after an accident.

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