Dr. Ronald H. Kienitz, DO a specialist in occupational medicine, serves as the medical director of Concentra Medical Centers in Honolulu, Hawaii. In that capacity, Dr. Ronald H. Kienitz, DO is knowledgeable about Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines and regulations regarding occupational fatigue and other workplace concerns.
A recent National Sleep Foundation report states that occupational fatigue, the condition of being sleepy or falling asleep at work, affects up to 29 percent of Americans. This condition carries significant economic consequences, as it results in more than $136 billion lost to a combination of health care costs and reductions in workplace productivity.
Occupational fatigue leads to short-term declines in both cognitive and physical function. Some research suggests that this is surprisingly like being impaired by alcohol. Workers who operate heavy machinery or use hazardous chemicals may be especially at risk when compromised in this way.
OSHA suggests that some of the risks of occupational fatigue can be mitigated by avoiding work shifts longer than eight hours. When extended shifts are unavoidable, extra breaks and meals can help offset the negative consequences of fatigue.