(HealthDay News) – Insomnia-related workplace accidents and errors are more costly and more frequent than accidents and errors caused by other chronic conditions, according to a study published online Oct 1 in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Victoria Shahly, PhD, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a national cross-sectional telephone survey of 4,991 commercially insured health plan members selected from the HealthCore Integrated Research Database. The validated Brief Insomnia Questionnaire was used to assess current insomnia. Other chronic conditions were assessed with claims data and self-report scales.

The researchers found that, after controlling for other chronic conditions, insomnia had a significant odds ratio with workplace accidents and/or errors (1.4). There was no significant variation in the odds ratio based on age, sex, educational level, or comorbidity. The average costs of insomnia-related accidents and errors were significantly more than those of other accidents and errors ($32,062 vs. $21,914). Insomnia was estimated to be associated with 7.2% of all costly workplace accidents and errors and 23.7% of all the costs incurred by these incidents. The annualized U.S. population projections were for 274,000 costly insomnia-related workplace accidents and errors, with a combined value of $31.1 billion.

“Effectiveness trials are needed to determine whether expanded screening, outreach, and treatment of workers with insomnia would yield a positive return on investment for employers,” Shahly and colleagues conclude.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Sanofi, which funded the study, and Merck, which funded data analysis and preparation of the report.

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