Fatigued workers could be micro-sleeping, and causing major accidents.
Scientists have indicated that fatigued drivers are capable of falling asleep behind the wheel for seconds at a time without evening knowing it. A few seconds might not seem like a long time, but in a fast moving vehicle or dangerous piece of equipment, it’s enough for something serious to happen.
ABC news put this study to the test in a recent experiment under supervision of the Liberty Mutual Research Institute, where this phenomenon called ‘micro sleep’ is studied. Reporter, Ron Claiborne, deprived himself of sleep and then attempted to operate a vehicle. The results were both surprising and alarming – have a watch:
In the video, Ron admits to falling asleep ‘a couple of times’ and decides to end the experiment. Luckily for Ron, he was driving on a closed and supervised course because the experiment data actually showed that he had fallen asleep not twice, but twenty-two times. Workers in 24/7 operations aren’t usually supervised by a team of scientists while on the job, so what would falling asleep twenty-two times mean to someone operating heavy equipment or about to drive themselves home after finishing a long shift?