24/7 operations present special safety challenges, and risks of employee inattention are increased. Seventy to eighty percent (70-80%) of transportation accidents are the result of human error according to the US Department of Transportation. While alcohol and drug abuse have long been recognized as leading causes of accidents, increasing attention in recent years has been paid to the role of fatigue caused by sleep deprivation in our non-stop 24/7 economy. While motor vehicle-related incidents are consistently the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States, certainly the risk of employee inattention is present in all realms of extended hours operations.
Unlike alcohol or drugs, which can be detected by biochemical assay, fatigue is harder to prove as a cause of accidents on the highway, or in the workplace -- because there is no chemical test. Despite this limitation, fatigue has been increasingly claimed as the primary cause of many major accidents. This has resulted in substantial judgments when employers are held responsible for imposing a work schedule, or overtime shifts that induced fatigue and human error.
Accident Litigation poses a number of challenges, such as:
- Work hours and extended time without sleep create a vulnerability to lawsuits and punitive damages when accidents occur.
- Violations of Hours of Service Regulations, whether minor or more substantive, create a potential of increased exposure for companies.
- The presence of underlying medical conditions may increase or mitigate liability for one or both parties to a lawsuit
How CIRCADIAN can help you
The CIRCADIAN team is lead by former Harvard professor Dr. Martin Moore-Ede, one of the world’s leading experts on human factors in transportation and industrial operations. At CIRCADIAN, we can help successfully defend against spurious claims of fatigue by
- Providing world-class scientific expertise for assessing the contribution of fatigue as a factor in an accident.
- Provide an objective analysis of fatigue risk.