Predicting Worker Fatigue

Sean Kerklaan of Fatigue Science held a session on the importance of sleep, and how to improve it for workers.

SEATTLE-- A Monday morning session of AIHce Expo 17 kicked off with a focus on one thing: sleep. While seemingly obvious, lack of sleep, commonly referred to as fatigue, accounts for 5-8,000 work-related deaths per year.

Sean Kerklaan, CEO of Fatigue Science, discussed the importance of getting a good night’s sleep and how employers can leverage technology in order to keep workers safe and increase productivity.

Fatigue Science has a number of interesting clients, including the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Cubs. The company started working in Australia in 2007 when legislation was passed to hold companies accountable for workers that are involved in fatigue-related incidents.

Kerklaan discussed the importance of monitoring sleep in order to acquire data that helps inform decisions from a company level. He also stressed the importance of sharing the responsibility between employees and employers, which is a much better way at achieving results.

Some of the solutions seem obvious, such as turning the television off a couple hours before bed and not consuming too much caffeine after 2 pm, but some of the anecdotes Kerklaan shared highlight how common sense can sometimes go out the window when it comes to sleep.

For example: an employee of a construction company in the UK trained his body to get up every morning at 2am, make a cup of black tea, and watch television for two hours before going back to sleep. When his employer was searching for reasons why he might be fatigued, the answer turned out to be right in front of them.

By conducting the research and utilizing the technology available, Kerklaan explained how companies can save the bottom line as well as a human life/

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