Lack of sleep and fatigue are contributing factors in some railroad accidents. Long hours at work combined with a lack of sleep may affect one’s ability to think clearly, recall information, and make good decisions. You may be tempted to continue working to avoid losing payment or accumulating overtime hours, but doing so puts you and others at risk.
Do not hesitate to call in sick
It is not easy to call in sick because you didn’t get enough sleep when you have to worry about paying the family bills or losing your job. However, it might be necessary if you reach a point of exhaustion where you are unable to function normally at work. When calling in sick, state how dangerous it would be for you and others to keep working under your conditions.
The Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) protects whistleblowers reporting a legitimate safety risk from retaliation. In this case, you are both the whistleblower and the safety risk. The FRSA empowers employees and considers reporting a safety risk as a protected activity.
Protected activities can include reporting work-related injuries or illness, refusing to work when there is a safety or security threat, or refusing access to any tools that pose a risk. Meanwhile, retaliation is any action that may be taken against you because of engaging in a protected activity. It may include firing, denying overtime, intimidation, demoting, or blacklisting.
Calling in sick because you are sleep-deprived may seem like a small thing, but it can help save lives. Otherwise, employees who go about working with sleep deprivation may endanger others. If you are a safety hazard because of your exhaustion, do not be afraid to report your concern.