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Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist*
AS AUTHORIZED BY THE PA SUPREME COURT

Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist*
AS AUTHORIZED BY THE PA SUPREME COURT

How laying people off can lead to worker fatigue

To cut back on costs, many businesses in Pennsylvania are thinking about laying off a portion of their staff. This might help them eliminate some payroll costs, but it can also have a dangerous effect on the rest of the employees. As the company shrinks, the remaining employees must take on extra tasks, which can lead to increased fatigue and workplace accidents.

How can laying off employees cause workplace accidents?

When an employer lays off a portion of the staff, their responsibilities don’t magically disappear. The rest of the staff must pick up their duties on top of the responsibilities that they already have. As a result, they might have to work harder, stay after their shift is over or try to cram more activities into their current shift. They might even start picking up duties outside of work hours.

Before long, employees start to get fatigued. The more responsibilities they must deal with, the more fatigued they get. And as studies have shown, fatigued employees are more prone to accidents in the workplace.

In 2014, a study revealed that workers who are sleep deprived are nearly twice as likely to get into workplace accidents. The same study also observed that fatigue could contribute to over 10% of workplace injuries. A few years earlier, a 2010 study revealed that if employees are working too many hours and aren’t getting enough sleep, they’re more susceptible to accidents. This research shows that overloading employees can have a negative impact on the entire company.

Fatigued employees might experience confusion, inattentiveness, poor judgment and other issues that could lead to workplace injuries. As a result, they might have to take some time off and collect workers’ comp in the meantime.

What should you do if you’re injured at work?

While most employers must offer disability benefits if you have an injury on the job, some employers try to interfere or retaliate if you file a claim. An attorney could back you during this time and keep your employer from doing anything illegal.