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Sleep disorders and work injury rates

According to a study conducted in Canada, workers in New Jersey and around the country who have sleep apnea are twice as likely to get hurt on the job. They are three times more likely to trip, fall or get burned as well. The study looked at 1,236 patients at a British Columbia Hospital clinic who were screened for obstructive sleep apnea from May 2003 to July 2010.

It revealed that almost 10 percent of those who were diagnosed with the disorder had experienced an occupational injury within the previous five years. Only 5 percent of those who didn't have sleep apnea suffered an injury at work in the previous five years. Researchers believe that a lack of quality sleep results in daytime drowsiness, which could explain the higher accident risk. There are an estimated 22 million Americans with sleep apnea, and many cases may go undiagnosed.

The connection between sleep apnea and workplace injury still stayed relatively strong after accounting for a variety of variables. Even after taking gender, alcohol usage and age into consideration, it was determined that those with sleep apnea were 76 percent more likely to get hurt on the job. However, researchers did note that the severity of the sleep apnea did not increase an individual's risk of getting hurt at work.

A person who is injured in a workplace accident may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits under the employer's insurance coverage, regardless of whose fault it was. These benefits can include medical treatment and partial wage replacement, and an attorney can often assist with the preparation and filing of the claim.

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