Recession raises safety risks of 24/7 operations
"The survey underscores the challenges posed by record levels of overtime, increasing risks due to human-error accidents, and limited workplace provisions for the unique needs of those in 24/7 shiftwork positions, such as childcare, employee training and rest facilities," states Dr. Martin Moore-Ede, president and CEO of Circadian Technologies, Inc.
Survey results depict insufficient staffing, higher overtime levels, increased human-error-related accidents due to stress and overwork, limited employee involvement in shift schedule changes, and inadequate childcare, training and workplace napping provisions for those working non-traditional hours.
Key results include:
- Overtime: The number of shiftworkers working more than 400 hours of overtime each year has increased by 45 percent since 2000.
- Holdovers: Seventy-three percent of facilities reported using holdovers, where the shift length is increased or doubled, to cover necessary overtime. Other studies have already demonstrated that mandatory overtime costs U.S. employers $150 billion per year in stress and fatigue-related problems.
Managers from 623 facilities, representing nearly 120,000 employees, participated in the survey. Responses came from a range of 24/7 operations, including manufacturing, process production, utilities, public safety, healthcare and service industries.