Sleep Related Accidents

Sleep-related accidents refer to accidents where the individuals are experiencing sleep deprivation, carrying health implications to which cognitive impairment and slow psychomotor reflexes are contributing factors. Medical research studies indicate that the proportion of individuals responsible for sleep-related accidents outweighs the number of people receiving sufficient rest. The physiological necessity of sleep promotes mental acuity and physical energy, reflecting the individual’s capacity to sustain job performance at company standards.


Although employers recognize sleep deprivation as a prevalent issue, poor oversight and lax protocol in curbing the problem increases the incidence rate for sleep-related accidents. Sleep disorders including chronic insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), marked by snoring that interrupts breathing, can induce excessive daytime sleepiness, which in turn erodes cognitive faculties including alertness, concentration, and sound judgment. Employers should educate themselves about symptoms of sleep deprivation in employees such as weak communication, distractive cues, erratic mood swings, irritability, and failure to absorb and retain information.

A polysomnogram is a sleep study to determine whether individuals are candidates for different sleep disorders using biofeedback that covers blood oxygen levels, brainwave activity, heart rate, and respiration to compare sleep pattern abnormalities against the baseline criteria. Depending on the patient’s condition, therapeutic modalities can alleviate disruptive sleep patterns. For example, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are conducive in facilitating autonomous breathing cycles in patients with sleep apnea. However, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a discipline for helping patients align with sleep hygiene and also serves as an adjunct form of treatment in modulating patient compliance with CPAP therapy.

In the workplace, sleep-related accidents are a health and safety liability, particularly where essential job functions require manipulating heavy equipment or operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Sleep specialist referrals are beneficial against the upswell of insomnia and OSA-related cases that affect companies across-the-board, laying the groundwork for offering therapeutic interventions to stem workers’ compensation costs.


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