Depending on the industry, working long shifts is simply a fact of life. However, just because something is normal does not mean that it is safe. Workers who spend longer hours on the job face an increased risk of injury, which can lead to both short and long-term physical and financial problems. Workers’ compensation can help injured workers address those issues.
Researchers at an Illinois university decided to examine how longer shifts impact the risk of injury for miners. They found that when miners worked shifts that were nine hours or longer, they had a higher chance of being killed or injured in an accident involving at least two workers. Additionally, they found that the workers who suffered injuries while working long shifts were also more likely to have irregular schedules or to have been working in the industry for under two years.
Between 1983 and 2015, injuries among miners working long shifts increased three times over. However, researchers could not solely blame the increase in longer working hours. As they researched further, they also found that constantly changing schedules, different start times from week to week and being a contract or temporary worker also increased the risk of injury or death.
While these researchers only focused on injuries in the mining industry, it is not hard to imagine how longer shifts might affect workers in other industries. Many Illinois workers who are employed in fields like the medical industry or construction are expected to work for significant lengths of time and often at irregular hours. Workers who have suffered an injury after working extended hours may want to consider how seeking workers’ compensation benefits could aid their recovery, particularly in terms of recovering lost wages and paying for medical bills.