A new study has found that 37.9 percent of U.S. workers experience fatigue, and that the problem that carries billions of dollars in costs from lost productivity. The report, published in the January Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, noted that fatigued workers were more than twice as likely to experience health-related lost productive time. Dr. Judith A. Ricci and colleagues analyzed data from a nationwide study of the relationship between health and productivity.

Fatigue has been linked by a number of organizations, including OSHA, as a major contributor to breakdowns in occupational health and safety. A study released in 2000 from the University of New South Wales, and reported on by ISHN, noted that fatigue can have comparable effects to alcohol.

The study estimates that workers with fatigue cost employers $136 billion annually in lost productivity due to health, compared to $35 billion for workers without fatigue. Of the nearly 29,000 employed adults interviewed, 38 percent said they had experienced "low levels of energy, poor sleep, or a feeling of fatigue" during the preceding two weeks. Of workers with fatigue, 65.7% reported health-related LPT compared with 26.4% of those without fatigue.

With adjustment for other factors, fatigue was found to be more common in women than in men, in workers younger than 50, and in white workers compared with African Americans. Workers in "high-control jobs," those that are relatively well-paid with decision-making responsibility, also reported higher levels of fatigue.