Accident Reduction through Better Housing
by Troy Schrenk
No one wants accidents. No one wants to see workers injured. No one wants to see valuable equipment ruined. No one wants delays and reduced productivity. Yet workplace accidents are a real risk at remote oil and construction sites. Timetables are tight and the work is dangerous. Are workplace accidents inevitable? The answer is a resounding no. Accident reduction doesn’t happen by accident. Companies today understand the risks and work to mitigate them. When it comes to remote sites, housing is a key strategy to reduce the risk.
What Causes Workplace Accidents?
It’s tempting to blame accidents on the weather, mechanical breakdown or random chance. But according to our white paper, Workforce Housing and Feeding Solutions for Health, Safety, Productivity and Morale, nearly 90 percent of workplace accidents are caused by human error. That’s a lot of preventable accidents, with a high cost in terms of worker well-being as well as dollars. Author Christopher Wanjek notes, “the number-one cause of worker-initiated accidents is fatigue in its various forms, such as exhaustion, weakness or sleepiness.”
The stakes are higher on remote worksites in the energy industry, where workers operate heavy equipment and work 12+ hour shifts in harsh climates. One small mistake or lapse in judgement due to fatigue can lead to a disastrous chain of events: Injured workers or worse. High healthcare and legal costs. Undesirable turnover of skilled, valuable employees. Lost productivity. Slipped schedules. How can today’s companies mitigate the risk?
Combatting Fatigue, Improving Safety
Fatigue is at the heart of many accidents that are attributed to “human error” or “equipment failure.” Many studies suggest a link between sleep loss and increased impairment in judgment. Another white paper from Target Lodging, Optimizing Sleep for an Optimal Workforce, discusses the impact of fatigue at the workplace. Author Nancy H. Rothstein Dr. cites research by Margaret Chan, a study of construction workers in oil and gas projects in China:
“…previously identified factors like failure to use equipment or failure by individual workers to follow safety procedures are heavily influenced by fatigue. If you eliminate fatigue, you also eliminate other so-called ‘causes’ of accidents.”
Companies can combat on-the-job accidents with training and safety programs. But, as writer Christopher Wanjek points out, “Companies that complement worker safety and training programs with adequate feeding and relaxation programs report lower accident rates and higher productivity and morale.”
Fighting Fatigue through Comfort
Workplaces can manage fatigue through smart policies about breaks and scheduling. But with so much at risk, how can companies seriously reduce fatigue-related accidents? The answer is addressing the problem of fatigue at its root: sleep. Housing stipends simply can’t guarantee that workers in remote locations will get the sleep they need for performance and safety. The ultimate way to reduce accidents is offering quality lodging for rotational workers with superior sleep conditions.
Target Lodging understands that safety depends on quality sleep. Well-rested workers are better prepared for their challenging days, meaning increased safety and productivity. We go out of our way to provide a thoughtfully designed environment that enhances sleep and relaxation, more than any motel or trailer.
- Private, quiet rooms
- Our exclusive Hibernator Sleep System™, which includes a pillow-top mattress, high-thread-count sheets and overstuffed pillows
- Individual temperature controls
- Blackout curtains
- Recliners and flat-screen televisions in each room
Accident reduction is a critical priority in the oil, gas, mining and construction industries. It’s a simple equation: better housing plus better sleep equals less fatigue and fewer accidents. A lot is riding on a good night’s sleep—can you leave it to chance?