Study: Insomnia Linked to $31 Billion in Workplace Errors

New Study Links $31 Billion in Workplace Errors to Insomnia

Every Monday morning, I watch people shuffle in with that familiar sleepy glaze in their eye.  We’ve all had it happen once in a while where you come to work and you’re still sleepy from the night before.  With the rising summer temperatures, excessive noise from neighbors, and a host of other irritants, sometimes sleep is elusive.  We all show up to work because we want to get paid, but sometimes, it appears it would have paid to stay home instead.

A new study by Harvard’s Medical School in Boston concludes that insomnia is responsible for approximately 274,000 workplace accidents per year at the cost of an extra $31 billion.  In 2008 and 2009, researchers interviewed over 10,000 people to determine how sleeplessness affects their job performance.

Is it Cheaper to Treat Employees for Insomnia

If workplace errors and accidents cost roughly $31 billion extra, would it behoove employers to pay to treat workers’ insomnia instead?

"You can feed them sleeping tablets -- this works in the short term -- but then it goes bad, creating drug-dependent patients who get little benefit from their drugs," said Kevin Morgan, director of Loughborough University's Clinical Sleep Research Unit, in Leicestershire, England.  "Ironically, you then have to invest in withdrawal programs to get them off drugs, only to find that the insomnia -- which was there all the time -- returns."

A more effective and longer lasting treatment could be cognitive behavioral therapy, which Morgan estimates works 60 to 70% of the time.  But until employers are willing to invest in new therapeutic treatments, they may want to invest in some simple solutions such as appropriate signage, safety gear, and training classes.

If You’ve Suffered a Workplace Accident

If you’ve suffered a workplace accident, you should first and foremost, get checked out by a physician. You may have serious or long lasting injuries which could potentially get worse if you neglect to check it out.

If this workplace accident was the result of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, whether they suffered from insomnia or not, you may want to talk to an attorney.