During an event Monday morning, Deborah A.P Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, and Charles A Czeisler, PhD, FRCP, director of the Sleep Matters Initiative at Brigham Health, explained the NSC’s new Fatigue Cost Calculator for Employers — an online tool that provides companies with a snapshot of not only their losses, but also their return on investment if they implement employee sleep health education programs that screen for untreated sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia.

She stressed the importance of the extensive research done by the National Safety Council and the Brigham Health Sleep Matters Initiative.

“Fatigue is not just something that affects us at home or in the evening, but it follows us into the workplace,” Hersman said Monday. “It doesn’t just disappear with that fourth cup of coffee. We know when it comes to safety, we have to look at everything to create a safer environment. Being well rested and operating at 100 percent means not being fatigued.”

“Sleep, along with nutrition and exercise, is one of three pillars of good health,” said Czeisler, also the Baldino Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Promotion of healthy sleep is a win-win for both employers and employees, enhancing quality of life and longevity for workers while improving productivity and reducing healthcare costs for employers.”

According to an NSC probability-based survey, 43 percent of Americans obtain insufficient sleep, jeopardizing safety, impairing their ability to think clearly, make informed decisions and be productive. The survey also found 76 percent of Americans say they feel tired at work – in step with research showing that most workers routinely get less sleep than they need.

“We can’t win the race to zero if we’re running on empty tanks and fortunately we don’t have to tackle this alone; employers can help us,” Hersman said. “This is a place where employers excel. They have a long tradition of being on the foundations of safety.”

She said that some people think it’s just the Fortune 500 companies who should be paying attention to this, but “the reality is every industry, every company, has the potential to be putting workers at risk and having decreased productivity.”

Check out www.nsc.org/tiredatwork for more information on fatigue and the workplace, and to calculate the cost of fatigue on your workplace.