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Workplace-Based Sleep Health Program May Help Reduce Work Injuries for Firefighters

FirefightersFirefighters are valuable members of society. Sadly, the extended shifts and long hours they work causes many of them suffer from chronic sleep deficiencies. Some also suffer from sleep conditions unrelated to work (i.e. sleep apnea), which can further exasperate exhaustion on the job. Both issues ultimately increase their risk of serious workplace injuries. A new study, which examined the use of a workplace-based sleep health program (SHP), suggests extended duration shifts may help to reduce that risk.

About the Study

Extended duration shifts have already been used to help prevent burnouts, errors, and injuries among resident physicians and emergency medical technicians. Yet no such program exists for firefighters. In hopes of potentially discovering one that would be beneficial for them, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital created a SHP program. Provided to half of the stations in a mid-sized fire department, this program included sleep health education and a sleep disorder screening.

Over the course of 12 months, researchers tracked the number of injuries, disability days, and other indicators of injury for all the stations. Their findings indicated a 50 percent reduction in long-term disability days for the stations that did participate in the SHP program. With such a drastic reduction, it is difficult to deny the potential benefits of incorporating similar SHP programs into fire stations across the country.

Researchers also cited that the long-term benefits could be even greater than just a reduction in workplace injury risk. Long-term sleep problems have long been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic diseases. Firefighters may also experience a reduction in their risk for these sorts of conditions as well. Of course, other studies would need to be done before any such claims could truly be made.

Pursuing Compensation for Work Injuries

Although workers’ compensation can help to cover the cost of your medical expenses, it may fall short of being able to provide for you and your family. This can be especially troublesome in situations involving long-term or permanent disability. Thankfully, you may have other options, such as filing a temporary or permanent disability claim or pursuing a third-party liability lawsuit against a negligent party.

At Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, LLP, we understand the challenges and obstacles you are facing, and we are dedicated to helping you fight for the compensation you deserve. To learn more about how we may be able to assist with your work injury case, call (408) 289-1417 and schedule a consultation with our San Jose work injury lawyers today.

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