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Are sleep disorders covered by workers' compensation?

Workers in a variety of occupations in California are candidates for sleep disorders caused by shift work. While workers' compensation might not cover the disorder as such, workplace injuries and certain illnesses that could be caused by the lack of sufficient sleep will likely be covered. Workers who are at risk include police officers, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, doctors, office cleaners and factory workers.

Shift work, both permanent and on a rotation basis, can leave workers in a permanent state of fatigue and sleepiness. Statistics show that shift work disorder can lead to higher rates of injuries and absenteeism. In many cases, shift work affects the worker's ability to focus and can impair his or her memory, increasing the risks for injuries.

Workers on night shifts for extended periods of time, and also those who work rotating shifts often become irritable, causing problems in their social and family lives. Of even more significant concern is the increased risk of health problems. Research shows that heart disease, ulcers, metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance are all conditions that have been identified in workers with shift work disorder.

Workers in California who believe their health problems or injuries were caused by shift work and sleep deprivation may be unsure about their eligibility for workers' compensation benefits. The sensible step might be to talk to an attorney with a sound knowledge of the California workers' compensation system. A lawyer with experience in fighting for the rights of ill or injured workers can assist throughout the administrative and legal proceedings in pursuit of maximum applicable benefits.

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The Sexton Law Firm

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