Sleeping Dogs, Not Drivers
Whether we spring forward in March or fall back in November, one of the most important aspects of a time change for employers to recognize is how much a one-hour disruption can affect an employee. In the spring, sleep loss raises safety concerns caused by fatigue. In the fall, the time change can lead to issues related to increased episodes of driving in darkness.
An alert driver is more likely to spot a potential hazard and avoid an incident. Research shows drivers who are fatigued are three times more likely to be in a car crash, in part because reaction time and decision-making ability can be compromised.
Drivers who were fatigued or asleep contributed to 9,496 crashes in Texas last year, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. That is more than 26 crashes every day. Raising sleep-health awareness can be an effective way for employers to save lives and positively affect the bottom line.
Diminished work capacity and crashes that result in lost workdays cost money. In fact, a study published by EHS Today estimated employers spend more than $136 billion a year on fatigue and health-related lost productivity. Use these three tools to provide education at your location:
- Watch in group settings or share on your video monitors and social channels: Drowsy Driving Can Be as Dangerous as Drunk Driving
- Download: Fatigue at Work Employer Toolkit
- Print and post: Not Your Dream Car and Beat Road Fatigue: Take a Break
Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep to reach peak performance levels, but nearly one-third report averaging less than six hours. Employees who work rotating shifts are particularly vulnerable to fatigue because they find it challenging to synchronize sleep patterns with their ever-changing body clocks.
Fall back on this: Just as time never stands still, your safety efforts need to always move forward.
Enjoy a Big Bite of Safety
For many, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is all about the 3 Fs: family, food and football, and not necessarily in that order. Some of your employees will host get-togethers. Others will travel to be with friends or relatives.
Work to ensure the biggest decision they have to make is whether to have one or two pieces of pumpkin pie. Share tips for safe travel:
- Buckle up: 51% of people killed in Thanksgiving weekend crashes in 2017 were not wearing seat belts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Eight out of 10 people ejected from vehicles were killed.
- Avoid distraction: Silence your phone and set your GPS before embarking on a trip.
- Take steps to avoid fatigue and drowsy driving: Use this map to locate Texas rest areas and plan for periodic breaks. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep to reach peak performance levels.
- Impairment: More than 800 people died in alcohol-impaired Thanksgiving weekend crashes in a five-year period from 2013-2017. Plan ahead for a safe ride home. Raise awareness of risks associated with prescription medications, including opioid pain relievers and over-the-counter drugs. Some meds can cloud judgment or slow reaction time, skills necessary for safe driving.
Employers are positioned to promote traffic safety and save lives. In doing so, they also can cut costs associated with crashes that occur on or off the job. Use these free resources:
- Blackout Wednesday: Data and infographics from NHTSA created to help you curb incidents of alcohol-impaired driving
- What Happens When Unbuckled Bodies Collide in a Crash: Share this video and talk about the three collisions that occur in every crash
- Aggressive driving: Put your employees to the test and then challenge them to examine their own driver behavior
The turkey goes in the oven, not behind the wheel.