While it can sometimes be inconvenient to allow staffers to take rest and meal breaks, keep in mind that these short interludes have one important advantage: They help reduce the chances of injuries among your crew members.
So suggests a recent study by the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University. Using data from the Oregon Workers’ Compensation program compiled between 2007 and 2013, researchers analyzed injury rates based on the time of day.
They found that crew members were most likely to get hurt four hours after their shifts started. Then the injury rate dropped significantly for the fifth and sixth hours of shifts. The data showed a slight uptick in injuries for the seventh and eighth hours of shifts.
The researchers suggested that the injury rate increased just before workers took a meal or a rest break after the fourth hour of their shifts, as required by state law. Then the rate went down because of the restorative effects of the break, which helps reduce fatigue levels. Previous studies have linked fatigue to higher injury rates.
The key takeaway for you: When your staffers don’t take breaks, they’re more likely to be tired and suffer an injury.
(From the March 15, 2021, issue of Safety Alert for Supervisors. To start your no-obligation trial subscription to the publication right now, please click here.)