Study shows when most workplace injuries happen

The results of 10 years of research provide clues on where to focus your safety efforts, especially for female employees.

The summary confirms what you might have suspected: Most injuries take place on night shifts and rotating shifts.

The research, done by Canada’s University of British Columbia, looked at the work history of 30,000 people and compared the incidence of injuries among workers involved in different types of shift work from 1996-2006.

Two highlighted results:

  • The overall rate of work injuries decreased during the 10 years, except among night-shift workers.
  • The risk of work injury associated with shift work was more common for women, especially if they work rotating shifts.

Researchers have surmised what you probably already knew: The disruption of normal sleep patterns due to shift work can cause drowsiness or fatigue, which can lead to workplace injuries.

But why were women more susceptible to injuries? The researchers suggest that because women are more likely to be responsible for childcare and household work, they may have more difficulties adjusting to shift work and maintaining regular sleep schedules.

Further, the number of workers toiling on night shifts or rotating shifts increased during the study period – suggesting that more people are taking on second jobs, leaving such workers with less time to sleep and making them less careful on the job.

Go here to download an abstract of the study.

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