Lack of Sleep Is Serious for the Construction Industry

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites sleep deprivation or disturbance as a hazard for workers and is often tied to workplace safety.  Additionally, a study from the National Safety Council showed 13 percent of work-related injuries can be attributed to sleep deprivation, thus increasing the risk of workplace injuries by 70 percent.   

Greater Risks from Lack of Sleep for the Construction Industry 

The construction industry tends to have more potential dangers than other types of work. Sleep loss within a construction workforce can lead to injuries and even fatalities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that about 20% of fatalities in calendar year 2019 were in construction were in construction which could be fully or partially linked to sleep deprivation.

Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to both short-term and long-term health, wellness, and safety concerns for construction workers leading to difficulty concentrating and performing on the job. 

Top Workplace Hazards from Sleep Deprivation 

What makes sleep deprivation or deficiency so hazardous on a jobsite? There are many side effects caused by a lack of sleep which can seriously impact a construction job site.  

Here are some potential effects:  

  • Poor Motor Skills 
  • Memory Impairment 
  • Increased Risk-Taking Behavior 
  • Lack of Emotional Control 
  • Falling Asleep on the Job 
  • Decline In Overall Health 

Many Causes of Sleep Deprivation  

There are many causes of sleep deprivation so it’s important to talk to a medical professional to see if there are underlying conditions, especially if it is long-term or chronic.  Stress, bad eating habits, and medical conditions such as sleep apnea can all contribute to a bad night’s sleep.  

Additionally, time changes in the spring and fall can disrupt a person’s sleep patterns, leaving them feeling off schedule and fatigued.   

It’s important to make “sleep hygiene” adjustments in order to mitigate the effects of not only the time change, but other bad habits that can lead to sleep deprivation. 

Practice Better “Sleep Hygiene”  

After getting cleared by a physician, workers should practice better “sleep hygiene” routines.  Steps such as better dietary habits, decreased alcohol and/or caffeine consumption, setting a regular bedtime and turning off digital or screen devices contribute to better overall sleep hygiene. Keeping regular sleep habits on the weekends can also be helpful in maintaining a consistent sleep routine. 

Communicate the Benefits of Sleep to Your Workforce 

It’s important to regularly stress the importance of practicing good sleep hygiene to workers, through trainings, toolbox talks, and general work communications.  The downsides of a sleepy workforce are many and can cost not only lost productivity but potentially injury or even loss of life. 


Construction Executive Magazine

National Safety Council

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.