According to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately three million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses occur each year. Of those cases, more than half involved missed workdays, job transfers, or work restrictions. Trips and slips, electrocutions, repetitive motion injuries, machine entanglement, vehicle crashes, and falling objects are some of the most common causes, which can affect anyone. However, a new study suggests that sleep apnea sufferers may be especially prone to workplace injuries.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that blocks the airway during sleep and then causes wakefulness throughout the night, affects approximately 22 million Americans. Sufferers often experience marked daytime sleepiness and fatigue due to the disruption of the brain’s normal sleeping cycle, but few awaken fully during obstructive episodes. As a result, many cases go undiagnosed.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Workplace Injuries
Researchers from the British Columbia Hospital Sleep Laboratory examined a potential link between sleep apnea and general workplace injuries by testing a total of 1,236 workers for sleep apnea. Of those, 994 were diagnosed. The remaining 242, who did not have sleep apnea, were used as a control group.
Over the next five years, the patients were followed to determine if they suffered from a workplace injury during the study period. In the end, those with sleep apnea were found to be twice as likely to suffer a workplace injury than those who did not have the condition. More specifically, sleep apnea sufferers were three times more likely to suffer from an injury related to a lack of vigilance or attentiveness, such as falls, heat exposure, electrocution, auto accidents, trips, and slips.
Talk to Your Doctor, Seek Treatment, Hire an Attorney
If you suffer from symptoms of sleep apnea, such as frequent daytime fatigue, talk to your doctor about sleep apnea testing. Should you be diagnosed, it is important to ensure you follow all treatment plans provided to you. This can help to reduce your risk of an injury at work, and it can provide you with protection from the deceptive, dishonest, or discrediting claims that insurance companies may make if or when an accident does happen. Lastly, be certain to have someone on your side to protect your rights during the claims process.
The experienced Aurora, Illinois workers’ compensation attorneys of Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur, P.C. provide skilled assistance to those who have been injured on the job. Dedicated and highly knowledgeable in this particularly technical area of the law, we can help you through all phases of the claims process. Get the quality representation you deserve. Call 630-907-0909 and schedule your free initial consultation today.