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Emergency Responders Impaired From Sleep Deprivation

Steve Wagner

One of the biggest threats to our emergency workers and government employees is the risk of over-working and impairment related to sleep deprivation. A new report from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has taken an in depth look at workers who are forced into long hours, and how these trends affect their safety and health, as well as those they are treating and working with.

The study focused on emergency responders, but it is applicable to anyone who is working in the medical field, the law enforcement field, or any efforts to promote public safety. In an effort to promote adequate sleep for workers, NIOSH studied past emergency events, such as Hurricane Katrina, and the habits and work patterns of the workers during those events. The conclusion from these studies was that the majority of emergency responders got fewer than 5 hours of sleep per night, far below the average for optimal brain function and health. Workers cannot be expected to adequately perform their jobs, save lives, treat injuries, assist with cleanup efforts, and more, when they have not had a sufficient amount of sleep.

In a preventative effort to help workers understand their own needs, as well as how they can best perform their jobs and prevent on the job work injuries, NIOSH has created new online training programs for emergency workers to complete. If you are involved with emergency work of any kind, or if you are the leader of a crew who will be responding to emergency events, having your crew complete this training program could not only be beneficial to them, but also to those they may be treating and assisting.

If you have been involved in emergency work, and have suffered work-related injury as a result of sleep deprivation or long hours, give the work injury attorneys at Wagner Reese a call for more information about how we can assist you. Give us a call at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a free workers’ compensation consultation with one of our injury attorneys.


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