The Bottom Line: How Does Your Work Schedule Impact Workplace Injuries?
Posted on July 12, 2022 | in Ergonomics
Researchers from Harvard University conducted a systematic review of 29 high-quality studies to determine the impact of work schedules on the risk of workplace injuries. Certified ergonomist Blake McGowan explains in this month’s installment.
References: Dorothee Fischer, David A Lombardi, Simon Folkard, Joanna Willetts, & David C Christiani. (2017). Updating the “Risk Index”: A systematic review and meta-analysis of occupational injuries and work schedule characteristics. Chronobiol Int. 2017;34(10):1423-1438.
Physical, mental, and muscular fatigue are considered major risk factors for the development of workplace injuries. These risk factors are also influenced by the timing of your work schedule, including shift length (8 hours versus 12 hours) as well as the number of consecutive days worked.
Recently, a group of researchers from Harvard University conducted a systematic review of 29 high-quality studies to understand the impact of the timing of your work schedule on the development of workplace injuries. So, what did they find?
- Injuries increase exponentially for every hour worked beyond 8 hours.
- Injuries almost triple after 12 hours of work.
- Lastly, injuries increase exponentially as the number of consecutive days worked increases.
- For example, injuries increase six percent on the second day, 17 percent on the third day, and 36 percent on the fourth day of a four-day work schedule.
So, what does this mean? What’s the bottom line? The bottom line is working for more than eight hours a day, many days in a row, exponentially increases the likelihood of an injury in your workplace.