Injury Most Common Within First 4 Work Hours

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Safety & Security

Ambulance illuminated at night.

A new study finds during the first four hours of their shift, workers are most likely to suffer traumatic injuries, according to EHS Today. Those working the night shift also suffer more severe injuries than those working the day shift. 

According to the article, the study is one of the first to analyze workers’ compensation injury claims data by the hour of work. It looked at 12,222 workers’ compensation claims from the Oregon construction industry from 2007-2013 that were accepted by insurers as disabling. 

Common injuries in construction include falls, work-related musculoskeletal disorders including joint inflammation, tendonitis, and pinched nerves. Wounds sustained after being struck by objects are also common. 

According to the study, nearly 80 percent of injuries occurred among workers ages 25-54, though older workers incurred much higher medical costs and missed more workdays when they were injured. Overall, the average medical compensation awarded per injury was $12,000 and the average loss of work was 80.5 days. 

While injuries were less frequent after the fourth hour of work, injuries that were reported at that time tended to be more severe. Based on the data Liu Yang, a doctoral graduate leading the study, speculated that most construction workers take a mid-shift rest or real break and experience some restorative benefits. 

Two interventions that could help are increased workplace supervision and work organization, which takes into consideration hours of work, and strict enforcement of rest and meal breaks.