Employees and Employers Share Responsibility for Fighting Fatigue Related Errors

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According to Dr. Benjamin Gerson, presenter at the National Sleep Foundation Sleep Health & Safety Conference, employee training, education, and sleep disorder management is crucial in managing fatigue, but must be under the employee’s control.

"Only sleep takes care of sleepiness," commented Dr. Benjamin Gerson.

“Only sleep takes care of sleepiness,” commented Dr. Benjamin Gerson, presenter and program committee member at the 2012 National Sleep Foundation Sleep Health & Safety Conference in Washington, DC earlier this month. Dr. Gerson, medical director of University Services, discussed the importance of implementing a Fatigue Risk Management System to help employers and employees mitigate errors from fatigue. “Employees have the primary responsibility to report to work well rested and fit for duty. Management must provide the motivation, knowledge, and in some cases the resources to allow them to do so,” stated Dr. Gerson.

The Fatigue Risk Management System was recently published in the February 2012 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, in which he was a member of the American College of Osteopathic and Environmental Medicine Task Force that issued guidance on fatigue for physicians and other safety stakeholders.

Dr. Gerson emphasized the need to educate employees about alertness management including the hazards of working fatigued, the impact of chronic fatigue, how to recognize fatigue in oneself or co-workers, and alertness strategies to be used while at work. Companies should evaluate technological applications and products that could reduce fatigue including choices of how to screen for a sleep disorder as well as confirm the presence of a sleep disorder. “The goals of a sleep disorder program may include a mechanism to identify employees with sleep disorders, treatment regimens for individuals with sleep disorders, and lastly assessing the success of the treatment regimen. Because again, what happens when the employee is off duty affects how they perform on duty,” stated to Dr. Gerson. “A FRMS should have a strong, repetitive education strategy that includes screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up to measure the success of the program. These applications will help ensure the employee will report to work well rested,” noted Dr. Gerson.

At the 2012 National Sleep Foundation Sleep Health and Safety Conference Public Health & Safety Track speakers discussed Fatigue Management, Sleep Management for the Troubled Economy, and Sleep Loss and Transportation Related Accidents among other topics during the day and a half conference at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC.

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About University Services

University Services, a physician owned and operated Pennsylvania Corporation was organized in 1967 as a supplier of multi-specialty medical services. The company’s main activities are related to sleep medicine and toxicology services. The sleep medicine division provides sleep diagnostic and treatment services through American Academy of Sleep Medicine accredited sleep centers as well as convenient at-home sleep testing through the pm-Assist® Sleep Scoring & Interpretation Program and Making Sleep Work For You℠ Sleep Disorder Program. The toxicology services division designs & implements substance abuse testing programs, provides Medical Review Officer Services, and reviews chronic pain management monitoring drug screens.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Dr. Gerson, please call Crystal Bayawa at 800-624-3784 or e-mail Crystal at cbayawa(at)uservices.com.

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Crystal Bayawa
University Services
(215) 637-6800 x102
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