Safety

The battle to keep workers awake

Hospital Safety Insider, August 28, 2014

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We've all been there: In a moment of drowsiness at work, we've found ourselves either drifting off or not fully paying attention to the task at hand.

In most deskbound professions that don't require the full attention of workers, this might be excusable. But in high-pressure fields such as aviation or healthcare where a simple mistake can mean life or death, worker fatigue can be a huge problem.

In fact, it's become such a problem in Pennsylvania that a patient safety advocate group in that state has released a report claiming worker fatigue in hospitals contributes to serious errors, some of which cause avoidable patient deaths.

That conclusion may sound like nothing new to those in healthcare safety, but as more watchdog groups and patient safety advocates take note of the rates of so-called "adverse events" in U.S. hospitals, the problem of fatigued workers, along with potential solutions, are likely to be more closely scrutinized in the near future.

This is an excerpt from an article in the September issue of Briefings on Hospital Safety. Visit here to log in or subscribe.

 



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