Top Jobs Putting People at Most Risk of Fatigue
It’s important to strike a balance between our livelihood and living — a balance that, for many, has been harder and harder to find. In the age of digital connectivity and always-on lifestyles, here’s a list of jobs that are considered at most risk of fatigue.
Long drives may be relaxing for some, but truck drivers often have to drive up to 14 hours a day. These long and grueling hours behind the wheel have led to some consequential health issues. According to an Australian study on sleeping disorders and long haul drives, truck drivers are more susceptible to undiagnosed sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea.
These health issues, in turn, put drivers at even greater risk. Research conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health estimates that 20% of all accidents involving trucks are due to drowsiness or fatigue.
Emergency Medical Dispatchers
Anyone would be hard pressed to find a job more stressful than being a 911 dispatcher. With over 240 million calls made in the U.S. every year, 911 dispatchers are often at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, and chronic fatigue.
To add to this, a study conducted by the University of Surrey claims that dispatchers are also more likely to develop vicarious trauma, commonly referred to as “compassion fatigue.” This builds pessimism and a general sense of cynicism in the individual, which certainly aggravates the mental and physical tolls of the job.
It’s no surprise that medical professionals appear in this list, as they operate under very stressful working conditions that are almost unheard of in any other field. In fact, statistics gathered by Maryville University point out that Americans make 916 million visits to nurse practitioners annually – which, on average, is around 2.5 million times per day. These numbers are only expected to grow as nurses will likely step in for family doctors, a sector with an impending shortage of approximately 100,000 by 2025. This heavy workload and erratic working schedules mean nurses don’t get enough rest, which then leads to chronic fatigue.
This, of course, is bound to affect more than the nurses themselves. University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Anne E. Rogers’ research emphasizes the link between nurse fatigue and medical errors, pointing out how the former can greatly aggravate the latter.
Law Enforcement Officers
The city never sleeps — and along with the city are the men and women who guard it. Law enforcement agents function in high-stress environments on a daily basis. Add these to the taxing physical requirements of the job, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Indeed, a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 40% of previously undiagnosed agents had developed at least one sleeping disorder.
Think about it. It took several hundred hours to construct the building you’re currently in. And behind those hours are the workers who built everything from the ground up.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration guide to working long hours, construction workers are some of the most affected when it comes to the issue of chronic fatigue. This is mainly due to the fact that the nature of their jobs is synonymous with long shifts and hard manual labor. Moreover, fatigue also increases the risk of injury by an alarming 37%.
All in all, the American workforce is facing a serious fatigue problem, a problem that can only be remedied through self-care. If you have loved ones that work in these fields, make sure to remind them to take a break every now and then. Additionally, these are the times where we have to remind ourselves that we work to live — we don’t live to work.