This is a costly oversight. The National Sleep Foundation states that highly fatigued workers are 70% more likely to be involved in accidents.
Catastrophes due to fatigue include:
- Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal
- Three Mile Island
Lack of sufficient sleep can cause:
- Workplace accidents
- Lost productivity
- Impaired reaction time and judgment
- Short term memory and information processing problems
- Decreased performance and motivation
- More difficulty with concentration and handling stress
The study ‘Why Sleep Matters – The Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep’–quantified economic losses due to lack of sleep among workers in the U.S, UK, Canada, Germany, and Japan. It found the following:
- The U.S. sustains the highest economic losses (up to $411 billion a year), and the most working days lost (1.2 million) due to sleep deprivation among its workforce.
- Japan (up to $138 billion a year); approximately 600,000 working days lost. Nearly half of full-time workers say they do not get enough sleep, with long overtime hours the primary reason.
- Germany (up to $60 billion); just over 200,000 working days lost;
- UK (up to $50 billion); sleep deprivation leads to the UK losing around 200,000 working days a year.
- Canada has the lowest financial losses due to lack of sleep (up to $21.4 billion). Just under 80,000 working days are lost.
Poor sleep is linked to deviant behavior in the workplace—ranging from avoiding work and leaving early or arriving late, to rudeness, vandalism, and violence. (There was found to be a very narrow difference between sleep amounts for deviant and non-deviant behavior: people who slept fewer than six hours nightly were more likely to demonstrate deviant and unethical behavior the next day, compared to people who slept more than six hours.)
On the other hand, getting sufficient sleep increases job satisfaction while also reducing job-related stress. One large study showed sleep-deprived workers perceived their jobs as more demanding, felt they had less control in their work, and perceived their workplaces were less socially supportive. These employees also had higher stress levels.
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Why Sleep Matters to Every Workplace, February 26, 2016 at http://www.mentalworkout.com/blog/2016/02/26/why-sleep-matters-to-every-workplace/.
Sleep, Performance & the Workplace-National Sleep Foundation, at https://sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/sleepcarecenters/Sleep_Performance_the_Workplace.ppt.
The study used a large employer-employee dataset and data on sleep duration from the five countries to quantify the predicted economic effects from a lack of sleep among its workforce. http://www.rand.org/randeurope/research/projects/the-value-of-the-sleep-economy.html.
Lost Sleep is Costing Japan’s Economy Billions, by Keiko Ujikane, February 15, 2017, Bloomberg at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-15/lost-sleep-is-costing-japan-s-economy-billions.
 Lack of sleep costing UK economy up to £40 billion a year, by Rebecca Clarke, November 30, 2016, HR Review, at http://www.hrreview.co.uk/hr-news/lack-sleep-costing-uk-economy-40-billion-year/102670. Why Sleep Matters: Quantifying the Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep, Rand Corporation at http://www.rand.org/randeurope/research/projects/the-value-of-the-sleep-economy.html.
Why Sleep Matters: Quantifying the Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep, Rand Corporation at http://www.rand.org/randeurope/research/projects/the-value-of-the-sleep-economy.html.
Huffington Post The Social and Behavioral Costs of Sleeplessness to the Workplace
By Dr. Michael J. Breus, March 15, 2016 at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-michael-j-breus/the-social-and-behavioral-costs-of-sleeplessness-to-the-workplace_b_9443162.html.