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Employee Fatigue a Silent Risk In the Workplace

How Employers Can Help Prevent Employee Fatigue

Employee fatigue issues should be handled with the same care and attention as other job-related hazards. Here are some helpful tips to keep employees awake, alert and safe on the job.

  • Vary work tasks throughout the day.
  • Offer regular breaks during the workday, so employees can reenergize and refocus on their workload.
  • Switch to blue-enriched white lighting in the office. Research indicates that cognition-enhancing blue light during the day improves mood, concentration, productivity, and the quality of sleep at night.
  • Create a company sleep challenge. Talk about a fun way to engage in friendly competition. Employees can use an activity tracker (e.g., Fitbit) or an app (e.g., Sleep Cycle) and log the number of hours slept each night.
  • Always encourage employees to notify a department manager or supervisor if they feel fatigued during the workday or otherwise not able to complete their work.

Meetings on the Move

Statistics show that when people walk 45-60 minutes per day, they sleep better at night. With this is mind, many companies conduct employee meetings while walking on an indoor track. This novel idea not only increases workplace productivity and employee engagement, it also creates a healthier company culture.

Educate Your Employees

Employers can also minimize the risks of workplace fatigue through employee education. Explain to employees the dangers posed to themselves and others while working when overly tired. Encourage them to develop and maintain a healthy sleep routine with the following tips.

  • Make sleep a priority. Go to bed at the same (and reasonable) time each day.
  • Eat light, nutritious meals and avoid eating or snacking right before bedtime.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Minimize their consumption of caffeine and alcohol.
  • Practice relaxation techniques after a long day and before going to sleep.
  • Resist the temptation to read or watch TV in bed.
  • Turn off smartphones, tablets and laptops well before turning off the light.
  • Seek immediate treatment of sleep disorders from a licensed physician.

Employees are likely your most valuable asset for your business. Make sure you take care of them by helping them take care of themselves. Not only will you be helping to avoid work realted injuries, but you will be improving productivity and likely overall job satiffaction. If you can't do all the above yourself as busy business owners, consider bringing in outside consultants to help. 


What Does A Duck Have To Do With Business Insurance

I'm sure you have heard of the duck test, "If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck." I have mentioned this before, but if you have staff you are required by law (most states) to carry workers' compensation insurance. Workers' compensation insurance primarily provides coverage for your employees if they are injured on the job and need medical attention as well as disability income while out due to the injury. 

We hear many reasons why small business owners do not have employees including, "I don't need to carry it since I 1099 my staff." While it may be true that independent contractors do not need be furnished workers' compensation insurance, government agencies such as the California Department of Industrial Relations are cracking down on employers that do not provide workers' compensation for employees. What most often will happen is that an employee gets injured on the job. They do not have health insurance and claim it was a work related injury. The employee and health providers look to the employer for coverage.

Oops, no workers' compensation insurance! The employee cannot afford the bills and gets the appropriate agencies involved because they feel they are an employee. The DIR and IRS essentially will do a "duck test" of their employment. Some questions you should be asking yourself are:

  • Do I set hours for staff?
  • Do I train staff?
  • Do I direct and control staff?
  • Do I furnish tools and material to staff to complete their job?

 If you answered yes to any or most of these (especially controlling staff) then chances are they would likely fall into the employee classification. The penalties for not providing employees with workers' compensation insurance in California are criminal and include monetary fines of up to $100,000. This is serious business...

The good news is that workers' compensation insurance is at a 5-6 year low right now. We work with some of the best markets that can easily and affordable provide you with appropriate coverage. Please call or contact us with any questions about this or any other business insurance question or concern. You can also request a quote here