Risk of work-related injury in workers with obstructive sleep apnea: A systematic review and meta-analysis

J Sleep Res. 2022 Feb;31(1):e13446. doi: 10.1111/jsr.13446. Epub 2021 Aug 12.


The objective of this study is to elucidate the relationship between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the risk of work-related injuries (WRIs), synthesize the latest clinical evidence and conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis adhering to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines (PRISMA 2020). Observational studies published before April 2020 in PubMed, Cochrane library, PsycINFO, Scopus, Google Scholar and Web of Science were included. Random-effects Mantel-Haenszel meta-analysis was performed. A total of 15 studies with 21,507 participants were included. Prespecified subgroup analyses based on study design and the characteristics of the enrollees were conducted. Overall, workers with OSA had 1.64-fold increased odds of being involved in WRIs compared to their counterparts (OR = 1.64, 95% CI = 1.24-2.16, p = 0.0005). In addition to the professional drivers that have been studied in the past, such a trend also existed in the general working population (OR = 1.68, 95% CI = 1.14-2.49, p = 0.01). We also found that workers with excessive daytime sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Scale score >10) had a 1.68-fold increased risk of WRIs compared to those with lower ESS scores (OR = 1.68, 95% CI = 1.22-2.30, p = 0.002). This study verified that OSA workers had a higher risk of WRIs, and such correlations do not show obvious differences in subgroups with different sample sizes, OSA diagnosis methods, job types or definitions of WRI. Based on the association between OSA and WRIs identified in our study, further studies investigating the protective effects of early identification and management of OSA on WRIs are warranted.

Keywords: meta-analysis; obstructive sleep apnea; occupational injuries; systematic review; work accident.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Injuries* / epidemiology
  • Occupational Injuries* / etiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / epidemiology