Are Fatigued Workers a Hazard at Your Company?

By Emily Scace Jun 7, 2017  Health and Wellness

By Emily Scace Jun 7, 2017 Health and Wellness

With busy schedules and deadlines to meet, sleep is often the first thing to go. But all those late nights and early mornings add up, and sleep deprivation has consequences, including important implications for workplace safety. The National Safety Council (NSC) has chosen fighting fatigue as the Week 2 theme during National Safety Month with its “Recharge to Be in Charge” campaign.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a third of adults don’t get enough sleep. What’s enough sleep? The CDC says most adults need at least 7 hours per night. In the workplace, discussions about fatigue and sleep deprivation often center around shift workers. And it’s true that employees who frequently work night shifts or change shifts often are at higher risk of sleep disruption and all its consequences. But shift workers aren’t the only group that experiences elevated rates of sleep deprivation and fatigue.

Workers who work more than one job, those who work long hours or overtime, and those who work in harsh environmental conditions can also be at risk of fatigue, according to an article in the NSC’s Safety + Health magazine. A recent study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that workers in production occupations, healthcare support workers, healthcare practitioners and technicians, food preparation and service workers, and protective service employees such as police and firefighters were more likely to sleep fewer than 7 hours per day than all other major occupational groups.

Safety and health implications

Regularly falling short on sleep can have a wide range of health consequences, including higher risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and depression. In addition, feeling sleepy while operating dangerous equipment or driving a car is a major hazard not only because of the danger of falling asleep while doing so, but also because of the slower reaction times, increased risk of errors, and decreased cognitive ability that can result from fatigue.

Some safety-sensitive industries have regulations intended to mitigate these risks, notably the trucking industry, which must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hours of service rules. But fatigue can be dangerous in almost any industry. Even workers who don’t perform safety-sensitive jobs need to commute to and from work, often by car, so all employers would be prudent to evaluate and address the risks of fatigue.

According to a 2012 article by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), employee alertness depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The work performed,

  • The timing of the shift relative to an individual’s circadian rhythm,

  • Whether the work environment is conducive to alertness or fatigue,

  • Whether there are measures in place to detect excess fatigue,

  • Whether employees get enough sleep during time off,

  • Whether employees have sleep environments conducive to high-quality sleep, and

  • Whether employees have medical or other issues that interfere with sleep.

Not all of these issues are under an employer’s control, notes the ACOEM, but many are. Factors such as lighting, temperature, and pace of work can all be adjusted to reduce the risk of sleepiness and increase alertness on the job.

Warehouses' Adding Tech-Like Amenities Is a Genius Move for These 2 Reasons

Sometimes, it's best to forget everything you know and look outside your industry for innovation.  By Julian Hayes II  Founder, The Art of Fitness & Life

Sometimes, it's best to forget everything you know and look outside your industry for innovation.
By Julian Hayes II Founder, The Art of Fitness & Life

Between McDonald's recently spending $300 million for "decision logic" technology and Spotify steadily making its move to become the Netflix of audio after buying its third podcast company, no matter the industry, you must seek staying up to date on trends in your workplace or risk becoming irrelevant.

While those companies are following this logic and the typical office will have coffee bars or some other type of comfort to make work feel more like home, not all arenas have fully caught on to this yet. One arena, in particular, is warehouses.

Growing up, I would hear about warehouses often because of a handful of family members working in distribution centers. I even did some seasonal work at some distribution centers. When you think of warehouses and distribution centers, you most likely gravitate your thinking to no air conditioning, strenuous work, fast-paced, uncertainty (especially for temporary and part-time workers), and scheduling rigidity.  You don't think of comfort and luxury amenities. However, this is slowly changing.

Due to a tight labor market as reported recently in a Wall Street Journal article, logistics firms, manufacturers and developers are incorporating Silicon Valley-like amenities to attract and retain employees. A few of these amenities across various centers are patios, discounted dining venues, gyms, landscaped walking trails and a beach bocce court among many others.

Warehouses finally coming along to upgrading their experience is teaching you two valuable principles to succeeding long term.

1. Environment must be prioritized.

Maybe it's a millennial thing, maybe it's the national unemployment rate being 3.6 percent,  maybe it's due to more job options, or maybe people are fed up--regardless, the physical environment has never been as important as it is now. Money is important, but your workspace is just as important when it comes to attracting and retaining employees.

U.K. online fashion retailer ASOS designed a 1-million-square-foot distribution center in the Atlanta region with a plethora of amenities focused on various aspects of their employee's life. At the distribution center are skylights for natural light, two full basketball courts, a soccer field, a gym, and a health facility. There's a salad bar along with pizza and grill stations that are partially subsidized by ASOS. If you're want to boost your appearance, there's even a temporary pop-up nail bar and barbershop.

Don't let the sizzle of these amenities lead you to think grandiosity is the only way to go. You can optimize your workforce and the environment by addressing smaller things of scale. You can work on the quality of your snacking options available, spice up your interior designing, and even work on educating your workforce about healthy eating among other things. 

2. Don't forget about your substance.

As humans in general, there's a tendency to focus on the shiny objects and the sizzle. However, it's the fundamentals of life, the substance, that actually moves the needle forward in the most impactful manner.

While warehouses are adding more of these grandiose amenities, there's also a recognition that fundamental factors important to people such as work schedules, wages, ventilation, water filtration, and insurance need addressing.

If you're wondering how to unravel more substance within your company and team, it's easier than you think. Start by asking your team members and learning what things are actually important to them. Next, begin to act on those recommendations. 

Warehouses adding fancy amenities are great, but as they'll quickly find out, optimizing the fundamentals will go a long way in terms of winning long term.

As you look toward the future, seek to marry the creative and grandiose factors with the tried and true fundamentals of everyday work.

Amazon Fires the First Shot.

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Amazon to Raise Its Minimum U.S. Wage to $15 an Hour

New level starts Nov. 1, covers more than 250,000 current employees, 100,000 seasonal workers

By Laura Stevens

Updated Oct. 2, 2018 1:44 p.m. ET

Amazon.com Inc. on Tuesday said it was raising the minimum wage it pays all U.S. workers to $15 an hour, a move that comes as the company faced increased criticism about pay and benefits for its warehouse workers.

The new minimum wage will kick in Nov. 1, covering more than 250,000 current employees and 100,000 seasonal holiday employees. The company said it also will start lobbying Congress for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which was set nearly a decade ago and is currently $7.25 an hour.

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How to Get Paid What You're Worth

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BY ALISON DOYLE

Want higher job satisfaction, greater productivity, and longer tenure at your job? Negotiate salary, especially when you take a new job.

It’s in your employer’s best interest, as well as yours, to make sure that you’re being paid appropriately for your skills, abilities, and experience. In fact, most hiring managers expect candidates to negotiate, once a job offer is on the table. Fail to do so, and you could cost yourself $1 million in lost earnings over the course of your career.

Of course, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about negotiating salary. To get paid what you’re worth, be prepared. Research salaries in your industry before you ask for more, and increase your chances of getting the salary you deserve.

Tips for Getting Paid What You're Worth

What's the best way to get paid what you're worth? Start by researching salaries, so you know what the typical salary is for someone with your credentials. Then carefully plan and implement a strategy to increase your compensation.

Research Salaries

Salary.com has a "salary wizard" that allows users to enter a job category and match it to a ZIP code or location. The wizard then generates a salary report with wage, bonus, and benefits information.

If relocation is a possibility, spend some time researching what your current or potential salary is worth in the new location. Move.com has a "salary calculator" tool where users can enter a salary, then receive a report on how much they will need to earn in a new location. The cost-of-living varies widely from city to city, so, it's important to know the purchasing power of your paycheck.

It's important to note that the employer is paying you for your qualifications and for the job you will do. With that in mind, you will need to be able to support your negotiations with information on what the job is worth at a fair market rate with consideration of your salary history. They aren't going to be willing to pay you more just because you are you!

Be Patient

Now that you are armed with the facts, patience is in order. When you’re interviewing for a new position, it is important not to bring up compensation until the employer makes a job offer. Let the employer make the first move.

If you are asked what your salary requirements are, say that they are flexible, based upon the position and the total compensation package including benefits.

An alternative is to tell the employer you'd like to know more about the job responsibilities prior to discussing salary. You can also give the employer a salary range based upon salary research you've just completed and cite the research you have done.

Keep in mind that there may not be much flexibility. If the employer has a budget or an established salary structure, the best you might get is the top of the range for that particular position. In that case, don't limit yourself to salary alone. If the employer can't afford to pay more, ask about the possibility of salary reviews sooner rather than later, extra vacation, or even a bonus based on performance.

Be Discreet

Never let an employer know you need money. It definitely will not help, and it might make you look desperate. However, always be honest about your past salary history and other job offers that are on the table. Lies have a strange way of coming back to haunt the person who didn't tell the truth. Once you've received the offer, plan on taking some time to think about it.

There is no need to accept or reject it right away. A simple "I need to think it over" may get you an increase in the original offer. One candidate, who had decided that they really didn't want the job after all, said "no" three times only to get three higher offers!

Be aware that this could also have the opposite effect -- the hiring manager could decide that you are asking more than he is willing to pay and accept the "no" response as final. So, it is important to fully know what your bottom line is for each position you apply for. If the salary isn't enough for you to live on, be prepared to pass on the job.

Stay Positive

Regardless of where you are in the negotiating process, remember to remain positive and continue to reiterate your interest in the position. Let the employer know that the only issue is the salary and you are really excited about the job and the company.

Then, if the position does sound like the perfect job, consider whether the company culture, including the benefits and flexibility, as well as the job itself are worth it -- regardless of the salary. If they are, it might just be worth accepting the position and taking a chance that the salary increases will follow!

The Road to Entrepreneurship.

Jayzhia is a business intern.

Jayzhia is a business intern.

Ms. Thompson

I want to thank you for inviting me to the NAWBO business event. I enjoyed Jan Long's story. She was very inspiring and spoke to me as a young person wanting to be an entrepreneur and wanting to run my own business. I learned about the concept of the risk of change vs. the risk of regret.

Many of the women spoke about the pivotal moment in their lives, where they were faced with having to make a decision, if they were going to stay safe and secure at their corporate jobs or if they were going to take that leap of faith into starting their businesses.

The film “Dream, Girl,” got me thinking about whether I would rather stay safe and work for others or if I'd rather be uncomfortable pushing to start a business.  These are real questions I must answer if I’m going reach my dreams and goals. I honestly don't know what my business will be exactly or how I will get there, but I know exactly what I want my life to be. I am willing to put in the work to get the success I want.

NAWBO is a great organization that connects, supports, and celebrates women in business all over the country.

Thank you, Jayzhia