A national study led by Harvard Medical School researchers found that insomnia was associated with a much higher percentage of workplace accidents and errors than any other chronic condition. These errors were also more costly. Researchers estimate that insomnia costs employers $31.1 billion annually.
Researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey of commercially insured individuals. Participants were asked about nineteen chronic conditions including diabetes, arthritis, and depression. Researchers looked into medical and pharmaceutical claims to confirm these conditions, and those that reported insomnia were then screened to ensure that their insomnia was not caused by other chronic conditions. Participants were also asked if they caused damage, work disruption, or mistakes that cost their company $500 or more.
Those who suffered insomnia were responsible for 7.2 percent of all costly workplace accidents or errors, which is a 40 percent higher risk than workers with any other condition. These mistakes were also associated with higher costs. 23.7 percent of all costs spent on workplace accidents or errors were generated by individuals with insomnia. Insomnia related errors cost on average $32,062, while non-insomnia errors cost $21,914 on average. This difference was even seen when researchers controlled for educational level, age, and other demographic factors.
Purchase the full study: The Associations of Insomnia With Costly Workplace Accidents and Errors or read an article about the results in Time to learn more.
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