Drowsiness means you could be just moments from sleep. Don’t lose sleep over the safety of your employees.
The dangers of drowsiness
Fatigue, but more specifically ‘drowsiness’, which is the dangerous state before sleep, combined with a hectic work schedule can wreak havoc on our health and safety.
Shift workers are most likely to suffer injuries and illnesses caused by drowsiness, as they are the type of workers who tend to work against their natural body clock.
Generally, shift workers have to fight against their circadian rhythm in order to stay awake during the night – when they are programmed to sleep – and sleep during the day, when they are programmed to be awake.
The importance of a drowsiness-detection system
So how do you self-manage drowsiness if the state of being drowsy is one you actually have no control over?
Drowsiness detection has previously been difficult to detect. Speed, blood alcohol concentration and seatbelts have all been tackled by policy and legislation; however measuring a person’s drowsiness has to date been impossible. Therefore, legislation has been limited to log books and other subjective tools.
The scale is similar to blood alcohol and can determine an individual’s alertness level and how likely they are to move to the dangerous state of drowsiness.
The signs of drowsiness
Research proves by the time you realise you’re drowsy, you may have already had a micro-sleep at the wheel. These are the signs to look out for:
- Slow blinking
- Heavy eyelids
- Constant yawning
- Missing street signs
- Drifting between lanes
- Eyes going out of focus
- Struggling to hold your head up
- Not being able to remember the last few minutes of travel
Drowsiness vs fatigue
Drowsiness and fatigue are often used interchangeably, however it is ‘drowsiness’ that is the dangerous state between alert wakefulness and sleep.
Feeling fatigued could be likened to feeling tired, exhausted or low in energy, but often does not result in sleep. Think how you would feel after an intense gym session.
People who are drowsy, however, are in that stage right before sleep. Regardless of whether you are curled up on the couch or on a long drive, if you are drowsy, you are at risk of falling asleep. And you can’t fight sleep.
We have all heard the road toll stats and we understand the consequences of pushing ourselves to the limit, but in a world of increased push for productivity and decreased sleep,how do we manage to stay safe whilst operating dangerous machinery? Learn more about each stage of Optalert’s system to find out how to tackle this dangerous problem.