The Shift-Work Accident Rate is More Related to the Shift Type than to Shift Rotation

The current study investigated the accident rates across morning, late, and night shifts in rotating shift-workers employed in two different shift rotations at the same steel work factory. A retrospective analysis has been performed of accident data (N = 578) over a 5-year period (2003 through 2007) of 730 male shift-workers employed in either a clockwise (mean age of the workers 38.1 ± SD 9.8 years) or counterclockwise rotation (mean age 38.0 ± SD 10.1 years) with comparable work conditions. The overall accident rate across the 24-h day was not significantly different between clockwise and counterclockwise shift rotation. In both shift-work rotations, morning shifts as opposed to night shifts exhibited a significantly higher accident rate. There was no significant difference between late shifts and morning or night shifts in either shift rotation. The increased accident rate in the morning shift at this steel factory could be related to the early starting time of the shift and to this shift being more labor intensive in both shift rotations. These findings suggest that work-related factors must be considered in addition to shift-work schedules when investigating accident rates in rotating shift-workers.

Source : Kantermann T, Haubruge D, Skene DJ. Hum. Ecol. Risk Assess. 2013; ePub.

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