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Could technology reduce workplace accidents in Pennsylvania?

Working in the oil and gas industry can expose workers to risks that they would not face in other fields. However, an Australian company is looking to reduce the number of accidents on the job by measuring how tired a worker may be. The worker wears a pair of glasses that would transmit his or her level of drowsiness to supervisors who can then assess that person's chances of being involved in a potentially dangerous situation.

It is estimated that drowsy workers cause up to 30 percent of all accidents in the oil and gas industry. If tired workers are removed from potentially dangerous situations, it could significantly reduce the number of accidents that occur, as research has shown that workers who are suffering from a lack of sleep can suffer the same effects as those who have had too much alcohol to drink.

There are several reasons why a worker may get excessively tired while on the job. It is possible for a worker to spend up to 12 hours a day exerting him or herself or work irregular shifts that can disrupt that person's natural sleep schedule. Moving from a day shift to a night shift can also cause another drastic change in sleep schedule to which an employee may have a hard time adjusting.

Companies need to take steps to ensure that workers are as safe as possible while on the job. Failing to take steps to prevent workplace accidents could cost a company more money as workers' compensation insurance premiums may increase. Therefore, taking steps to increase worker safety can benefit both employees working in potentially dangerous environments and their employers.

Source: The Motley Fool, "Could This New Tech Improve Worker Safety in Oil and Gas?", Daniel Gibbs, July 12, 2014

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