Emergency service workers in Pennsylvania frequently spend a majority of their days on call to aid their communities. Since many of these workers may be persevering through shifts between 12 and 24 hours in length, questions have arisen concerning the possibility of exhaustion and its consequences. A recent study strongly supports the idea that these shifts could contribute to fatigue capable of endangering both the workers and the patients depending on them.
Data was compiled from a three-year time frame of 1 million shift schedules corresponding to 4,000 employees. The researchers also reviewed occupational health records from multiple emergency service agencies. This information indicated a correlation between the duration of an employee’s shift and his or her risk of sustaining illness or injury.
According to the gathered results, a 50 percent heightened risk of such consequences emerged for workers enduring shifts greater than 12 hours. A more striking contrast appeared when the far ends of the hourly spectrum were observed as the study indicated a risk of illness or injury that was more than doubled for workers scheduled for shifts near 24 hours as opposed to those working less than eight.
For employees in many fields, the dangers posed by exhaustion can be great. Medical work, manufacturing and truck driving are only a small sample of the professions in which a tired employee could face serious injury from a mistake made due to exhaustion. In some cases, these injuries could lead to a temporary or permanent loss of work, and the injured person may wish to consult with an attorney with experience in workplace injuries to determine if workers’ compensation benefits are available.