According to a recent study from Oregon State University (OSU), the time of day, unsurprisingly, has an effect on injuries within the construction industry.
Liu Yang, a recent doctoral graduate from OSU, analyzed workers compensation injury claims by the hour of the accident. Yang found that workers often get hurt more often within the first 4 hours of the workday. The study also shows that night shifts experienced a significantly larger number of more frequent and more severe injuries as opposed to day shifts. The average number of days missed by an injured worker is just over 80, while the expenses incurred from these injuries averaged $12,000.
Data was collected entirely from the state of Oregon (who sees a higher percentage of construction related injuries than the national average) and focused on insurers who accepted “disabling” claims. The classification for disabling injuries is rather broad. A disabling industry could require a worker to take 3 days of leave or be a hospitalizing/fatal injury.
The authors noticed that while injuries were much more common during the first 4 hours, there were more severe injuries right after the mid-point in a workers’ day. The source theorizes that most workers take a mid-day break or lunch, allowing their bodies to recover. Skipping or delaying this break for whatever reason, may be a huge factor in the susceptibility to injury. This theory emphasizes the necessity of working at a safe pace with the right amount of breaks.
Yang claims that the two interventions that she thinks could help reduce workplace injuries the most are increased supervision by a safety staffer and an increase in rest and meal breaks.