Circadian Rhythm and Workplace Safety Considered

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If you want to have a happy and safe workplace, you need to be concerned that your employees are getting the right amount of sleep. If your company does business at night, or has night crews and floating schedules, you need to worry about circadian rhythm, and make sure your employees are getting the proper rest they need, otherwise they could get sick, cost your company money, and even bring their sickness into the workplace infecting your other employees, and customers.

If people don’t get enough sleep, often their brains, certain areas of their brains that is, will turn off, even during waking hours. This means they could have a brain fart and make a serious error causing injury to themselves, or someone else. You need to take this seriously, as it is a very serious issue. In fact it has been found that the circadian rhythm is tied to every single organ in the body almost, and your immune system to run at optimum relies on it.

There was a very good article published recently in the May issue of Scientific American titled; “Hidden Organ in Our Eyes Found to Control Circadian Rhythms and Emotions – Our bodies adjust to the cycle of day and night thanks to specialized neurons in our eyes. Ongoing study of these cells could lead to new treatments for winter depression and other conditions” by Ignacio Proencio (May 9, 2011).

It seems as if the more we learn about circadian rhythm, the more we see its importance. Therefore, when it comes to workplace safety, thus should be in the back of your mind because you may be causing your employees serious health issues, and setting yourself up for an accident in the workplace. This is especially important if your employees are operating heavy equipment at night, or if they don’t get a good night’s sleep, and come to work and operate dangerous equipment during the day.

Perhaps, and realize this is just a recommendation – you should look at your schedules and your employees, and when you see employees volunteering for extra work hours which would not allow them to get their proper sleep, perhaps you need to readjust those schedules. If you’ll recall the Federal Aviation Administration had problems with air-traffic controllers falling asleep at night, and they made new rules which would require their air-traffic controllers having no less than nine hours between shifts.

This means they couldn’t run a double shift, or doing an every other shift schedule. Are you beginning to see how serious this is, and what you need to do in your business to prevent accidents? If you pay attention, you can save on your insurance policy for your company because you won’t have as many accidents, or if you disregard what I’m saying here, you’ll eventually pay one way or the other, as will your employees with their health. Indeed I hope you’ll please consider all this and think on it.