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Sleep apnea increases risk of workplace injury

Sleep apnea affects millions of people across the United States, including many residents of South Carolina. Obstructive sleep apnea causes a person to wake up many times during the night when their airways become blocked. A Canadian study suggests this disruption of sleep may cause sufferers to be more at risk for workplace injuries during the day.

The researchers looked at over 1,200 sleep clinic patients in Vancouver, British Columbia, who had been screened for apnea. They found that those who had the condition were over twice as likely to have incurred workplace injuries than those who did not. The apnea sufferers were three times more prone to be injured in a workplace accident caused by inattentiveness or a lack of diligence. The researchers came to this conclusion by reviewing the work histories of the subjects in the preceding five years.

Sufferers of sleep apnea awake many times during the night but may not remember waking up. This causes them to feel more tired during the day than non-sufferers. An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from the condition, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. Most cases go undiagnosed.

In general, workers who are injured on the job may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits even if the accident was caused by their own negligence. Benefits that may be available include the furnishing of appropriate medical care and treatment and the replacement of a percentage of wages lost for the days that the injured party was unable to work. A lawyer can often be of assistance in ensuring that the required claim is filed within the required time period.

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