worker shortage work injuries

2020 and 2021 have seen a considerable worker shortage. The effects of COVID-19 have affected every industry on the planet, from healthcare to long-haul truck driving. The worker shortage is disastrous on many levels—including the potential for accidents on the job.

When businesses are short staffed, the remaining workers are often overworked. As a result, many employees suffer from fatigue. When employees are exhausted, it’s easier for accidents to occur.

If you’re working at a short-staffed business, make sure to advocate for your right to rest. Employers need to support their employees’ health and well-being—or risk an influx of workers’ compensation claims.

How Fatigue Can Lead to Accidents

Healthcare workers have long made a case for getting adequate rest and reasonable hours. Over the course of the pandemic, this has been made more obvious than ever. Nurses and other healthcare professionals are working long, thankless hours and burning out faster than usual, thanks to the increased strain.

This 2014 study found that “[s]hift work and long work hours increase the risk for reduced performance on the job, obesity, injuries, and a wide range of chronic diseases. In addition, fatigue-related errors could harm patients. Fatigued nurses also endanger others during their commute to and from work.”

Of course, this applies to every industry. Whether you work in a bookstore or on a construction site, you’re much more likely to get injured—or sick—when you’re constantly tired. When businesses lack a full staff, the remaining employees tend to take on a heavier workload, longer shifts and more of them. When you’re tired, it affects your memory, perception, motor skills, judgment and your ability to deal with stress; you’re also far more likely to suffer an accident on the job. That can lead to serious injury, time off work, lost wages and, of course, needing to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Protect Yourself Against Fatigue

The best way to protect against fatigue is to get enough rest—but when a business is short staffed, that may not be possible. It is important to find and review the labor laws applicable to your job. If your employer is asking you to violate them by working more hours than legally allowed, or otherwise endangering your health, talk to an attorney about your options.

Your employer should have a vested interest in preventing fatigue-related accidents—the better rested their employees, the less likely they’ll file workers’ compensation claims.

For assistance with your claim, contact Nager, Romaine, & Schneiberg Co. L.P.A. today.