The Connection Between Sleep Deprivation and Oilfield Injuries
Hundreds of oil and gas workers in Louisiana have lost their lives in fatigue-related accidents. This is one of the key causes of worker fatalities in the industry. If you were injured on an oilfield because your employer forced you to work for long hours in arduous conditions or because of the sleep-deprived negligent actions of another, you may be entitled to compensation. Consult with an experienced oil and gas field injury attorney to maximize your financial recovery.
Sleep Deprivation Increases the Risks of Oilfield Injuries
There are enough hazards in an oilfield. Fatigued and brain-tired workers only increase those risks. When a crew member is tired, they may be unable to function properly and follow all the safety precautions. This is especially true for truck drivers employed in an oilfield.
If a sleepy driver makes a mistake, they are risking the entire crew’s life. Many workers have been injured in oilfields because of the negligence of fatigued vehicles or machine operators.
According to recent research from the American Automobile Association, fatigue can increase the risk of a potential accident by:
- 1.3 times with 6 – 7 hours of sleep
- 1.9 times with 5 – 6 hours of sleep
- 4.3 times with 4 – 5 hours of sleep
- 11.5 times with less than 4 hours of sleep
Impact on the Worker’s Decision-Making Abilities and Alertness
Oil and gas workers are termed “fly-in, fly-out” because they commute to and from the worksite rather than relocating permanently. The employee may travel to the worksite once a month and work long hours during this duration. Being sleep-deprived places oil and gas workers at an increased risk because of the nature of their jobs.
The risk is enhanced by the change in time zone or adjustments to the circadian clock rhythm. Employees’ decision-making abilities and alertness is affected during the adjustment period. It is not uncommon for workers to put in 12-hour shifts for 7 days a week when on site. Many workers try to take on additional shifts to get overtime payments.
Long and irregular hours accompanied by taxing work during a shift places employees at a high risk of meeting with an accident. Reduced opportunity for achieving restful and regular sleep challenges a person’s natural sleep-wake cycle too. As per statistics gathered by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about one-third of oilfield worker deaths are attributed to lack of sleep.
Fatigued and excessively sleepy workers are found to be 70% more at risk of getting into an industrial accident as compared to well-rested and alert individuals. Accommodations provided in offshore facilities make it difficult for employees to get quality sleep. Noise, cabin-sharing, general lack of privacy, and unfamiliarity have a big impact on the hours of rest and recovery.
Workers are unable to self-assess objectively and become accustomed to working in a fatigued state. Furthermore, this places them at a higher risk of making safety-critical errors.
Dangers on Oilfields Magnified by Sleep-deprived Workers
These are a few typical dangers that are enhanced by fatigued workers in an oilfield:
- Improper safety enforcement: Employers are required to create a safe working space for all employees. Few employees tend to work longer shifts which can reduce their ability to remain alert and focused. This is particularly true in construction and trucking jobs. Sleep deprivation combined with an unsafe working environment where blocking off unsafe areas or wearing proper equipment is not made a priority can quickly result in severe injuries.
- Impaired motor skills: Tired workers have poor depth perception, hand-eye coordination, and balance. This can be particularly dangerous in construction and manufacturing jobs where workers are at a high risk of falling off scaffolding and ladders. Employees working with heavy machinery have the potential to cause catastrophic damage.
- Poor decision-making: Lack of sleep has a big impact on a person’s cognition. It can alter a person’s judgment and influence them to make riskier decisions. Workers may not realize their compromised mental state leading them to make poor decisions with catastrophic consequences.
- Poor information processing and memory: Sleep deprivation makes it difficult to retain new information and focus. Impaired short-term memory, distractions, and lack of problem-solving skills can lead to safety hazards and costly mistakes.
- Falling asleep on the job: Workers that are not alert on the job are usually unable to react to potential hazards in a prompt fashion. They may also be at an increased risk of injuring other workers. For instance, if an excavator operator falls asleep on the job, they can place other workers at grave risk of injury.
You should speak with a competent oil and gas field injury attorney to maximize your compensation by filing a claim.
Choose a Results-Driven Law Firm with a Strong Track Record of Success
The oilfield worker injury attorneys at the Trainor Law Firm, LLC are here to explain you your legal rights and protect your best interests. If you were injured on the job because of someone else’s sleep-deprived negligence, our attorneys can help you seek maximum financial recovery. Schedule your free and confidential consultation with us today. Call 985-900-2250 or write to us online.