Lack of sleep linked to 274,000 workplace accidents a year

Context : Insomnia is a common and seriously impairing condition that often goes unrecognized. Objectives: To examine associations of broadly defined insomnia (ie, meeting inclusion criteria for a diagnosis from International Statistical Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, DSM-IV, or Research Diagnostic Criteria/International Classification of Sleep Disorders, Second Edition) with costly workplace accidents and errors after excluding other chronic conditions among workers in the America Insomnia Survey (AIS). Design/Setting: A national cross-sectional telephone survey (65.0% cooperation rate) of commercially insured health plan members selected from the more than 34 million in the HealthCore Integrated Research Database. Participants: Four thousand nine hundred ninety-one employed AIS respondents. Main Outcome Measures: Costly workplace accidents or errors in the 12 months before the AIS interview were assessed with one question about workplace accidents “that either caused damage or work disruption with a value of $500 or more” and another about other mistakes “that cost your company $500 or more.” Results: Current insomnia with duration of at least 12 months was assessed with the Brief Insomnia Questionnaire, a validated (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.86 compared with diagnoses based on blinded clinical reappraisal interviews), fully structured diagnostic interview. Eighteen other chronic conditions were assessed with medical/pharmacy claims records and validated self-report scales. Insomnia had a significant odds ratio with workplace accidents and/or errors controlled for other chronic conditions (1.4). The odds ratio did not vary significantly with respondent age, sex, educational level, or comorbidity. The average costs of insomnia-related accidents and errors ($32 062) were significantly higher than those of other accidents and errors ($21 914). Simulations estimated that insomnia was associated with 7.2% of all costly workplace accidents and errors and 23.7% of all the costs of these incidents. These proportions are higher than for any other chronic condition, with annualized US population projections of 274 000 costly insomnia-related workplace accidents and errors having a combined value of US $31.1 billion. Conclusion: Effectiveness trials are needed to determine whether expanded screening, outreach, and treatment of workers with insomnia would yield a positive return on investment for employers. 

Source : Shahly, V.; Berglund, P. A.; Coulouvrat, C.; Fitzgerald, T.; Hajak, G.; Roth, T.; Shillington, A. C.; Stephenson, J. J.; Walsh, J. K. ; Kessler, R. C. The Associations of Insomnia With Costly Workplace Accidents and Errors: Results from the America Insomnia Survey
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012;69(10), p. 1054-1063. http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.2188

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