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Extended Workday: Safety Concerns

Extended Workday: Safety Concerns
"""What does the term ""extended work day"" mean?

Extended workdays are defined as work schedules with longer workdays than usual. Regarding the length of the longer workday, there isn't a certain agreement, though. While some sources define it as lasting 8 to 12 hours, others maintain that the word exclusively relates to shifts lasting more than 12 hours. Employees with prolonged workday schedules typically put in less than five days per week. The number of days working in a row decreases and the number of consecutive days off increases when the typical thirty-six to forty-hour workweek is condensed (or compressed) into three or four days. Working on an extended weekday schedule does not necessarily equate to working a shortened workweek because this pattern is not always true.

What are the general benefits and drawbacks of long workdays?

Work schedules are crucial for both the company and the employee. They have an impact on the worker's familial, social, and occupational safety. The longer workday is used by many businesses in the healthcare, industrial, transportation, mining, and office sectors. Longer work shifts (up to 12 hours or more) should not be scheduled carelessly. Here are some instances of this issue's benefits and drawbacks: Advantages More days off, as well as more days off in a row more time with family and pleasure additional days of rest to recuperate from exhaustion fewer days in a row of working increased spirit higher job satisfaction decreased absences Reduced commute time disadvantages More days off, as well as more days off in a row Workers become disconnected from their work. Lengthy commutes following a long workday may make you feel more worn out. Safety and alertness can decrease as a result of fatigue. Employees need more breaks.

What ought to I understand about fatigue?

The body receives fatigue as a signal to rest. If the person is able to relax and does so, there is no issue. If rest is not available, however, exhaustion may worsen until it is upsetting and ultimately overwhelming. Depending on the individual, their level of weariness, or sleep deprivation, fatigue symptoms can vary. Some examples include: weariness grogginess and agitation loss of drive and diminished attention, concentration, and memory heightened vulnerability to disease depression headache giddiness appetite loss and stomach issues Fatigue can be caused by numerous factors. For the health and safety of workers on longer workdays, for instance, weariness brought on by lengthy work hours and short rest periods between shifts is a major concern. According to several academics, the eight-hour weekday is frequently less exhausting than the longer workday. They contend that after ten or twelve hours, employees will be too exhausted and may endanger both their own safety and the safety of those at work. Others claim that the eight-hour workday is exhausting, especially when several shifts must be worked back-to-back with only a few days off. Fewer consecutive shifts are needed with correctly structured extended workday schedules compared to eight-hour day patterns, and longer vacation times allow for better recovery. If the employee maintains healthy and regular sleep patterns, the longer vacation time may make up for the longer workdays. The fact that employees can only work, eat, and sleep during the workweek raises another issue with the prolonged workday. Two issues are brought on by this shortage of free time. First, after work and before going to bed, most professionals require a certain period of downtime. This period is shortened when there are just twelve or fourteen hours in between shifts. Second, because they still have work to complete after work, employees with other kinds of responsibilities, including child care, can find the prolonged workweek exhausting. Numerous workplace factors put employees under physical and mental strain, which has an impact on their health, happiness, performance, safety, and weariness. Workstations, lighting, air quality, and job design are a few examples of such aspects. Workers can better handle all of the demands of their employment, including the work schedule, by reducing any sources of fatigue. A well-designed equipment, an additional break for relaxation, or a better chair, for instance, can assist lessen the overall demands of a given task. Please see the OSH Answers document on fatigue for more information.

What are the issues surrounding social life?

A primary advantage of the extended workday is that it provides more consecutive days off than most other types of schedules. This schedule allows more free days for family and other activities. However, the disadvantage is that the long hours do not allow much free time on workdays. Long hours can also affect family and social life. Whether the advantage of longer blocks of time off outweighs the disadvantage of little time off on workdays, or vice versa, is not clear and may depend on the individual. It appears that important factor for being able to adjust to an extended workday relates to characteristics such as age, marital status, parental status, hobbies, and personal interests. Workers who have major responsibilities outside work may have more difficulty with conflicting demands for time on extended workdays particularly the twelve-hour day. On the other hand, others may enjoy the longer time off and the opportunity for social and leisure activities. Time spent travelling to and from work is often viewed by workers as lost time. The extended workday means fewer commuting trips and, therefore, less wasted time and less cost.

What are the issues surrounding safety?

An issue often raised is the effect of fatigue on workplace incident and injury rates. The concern is that increased fatigue will contribute to incidents. Government of Alberta, Labour reports that fatigue affects people differently but it can increase a worker’s hazard exposure by:reducing mental and physical functioning,impairing judgement and concentration, lowering motivation, slowing reaction time, and increasing risk-taking behaviour.

What are the issues surrounding exposure to physical and chemical hazards?

Exposure to physical and chemical hazards is always a health and safety concern. When the workday is lengthened, the amount of exposure needs to be reevaluated to ensure that acceptable levels are not exceeded. Areas of particular concern are exposures to chemicals, noise, vibration, radiation, and extreme temperatures. Any method for determining exposure levels for the extended workday should be used with caution and under supervision. Expert advice may be necessary to determine acceptable exposures and controls for an extended workday. The proper and efficient use of personal protective equipment during an extended workday should also be considered. For example, uncomfortable hearing protectors cannot provide protection if workers find them uncomfortable and do not wear them when they should. Comfort over the whole work shift is important to usage.

What are the issues surrounding exposure to ergonomic hazards?

Ergonomic hazards such as repetitive work or working in a sustained and or awkward posture increases the risk of developing a musculoskeletal injury. Repeated or extended exposure to these hazards causes the body to fatigue and muscles to be damaged. If the body does not have sufficient rest, then the body, specifically the muscles, cannot repair themselves. Damaged muscles can lead to injury through a cumulative loading effect or a one time peak loading effect. When designing extended day work schedules, it is important to factor in rest breaks and alternate tasks that use opposing muscles groups to decrease the likelihood of sustaining a musculoskeletal disorder.

What types of jobs are suitable for an extended workday?

Perhaps the most difficult decision with the extended workday is what type of work is suitable for this schedule. There is no easy answer. In most cases, having a trial period in the workplace to monitor the health and safety aspects of particular jobs and determine the level of worker acceptance would be beneficial. The physical and psychological effort required by a job, environmental conditions such as temperature and vibration, and job characteristics such as boredom and repetitive work all contribute to the acceptability of the extended workday. With these points in mind, some general statements can be made. The sparse information that is available shows that jobs that do not require a high degree of physical exertion or that have natural resting periods may be most suitable for the extended workday schedule. For example, a machinist who has cycle time between setups that allows reduced attention while the machine is running can probably work a longer day. On the other hand, a data entry operator who must continually enter data while sitting in one position and concentrating for long periods would find the extended workday more difficult. People whose work involves creative activities may benefit from this type of schedule as it allows them to work intensively on projects while providing more time away to rest. Workers on eight-hour rotational shiftwork schedules might prefer the extended workday because it requires fewer consecutive night shifts and allows more recuperative time. In spite of inconclusive studies and conflicting worker responses about the most suitable length of work shifts, it is probably fair to say that heavy physical jobs and/or jobs that demand sustained attention throughout the workday do not lend themselves well to extended workday schedules. More suitable jobs would be those that require only light or intermittent work.

What are some guidelines for using an extended workday?

First, find out if there is any legislation in your jurisdiction that requires government approval to schedule more than eight hours of work per day and to average hours over longer periods. The legislation may require the organization to show that workers are aware of and understand the implications of the extended workday, and that workers genuinely want to work such a schedule. Some guidelines to consider when deciding whether to start or continue using an extended workday schedule are: Consult workers about their desire to have a change in the work schedule and specifically an extended workday. Consider the physical demands of jobs, occupational hazards such as chemicals or noise exposures, and aspects of job design such as rest schedules. Changes in the environment or job design can sometimes make an extended workday more acceptable. Consider the mental and emotional demands of the job. Work that requires constant attention or intense mental effort may be less acceptable for the extended workday. Use additional rest breaks or variation of job tasks to help decrease the strain of the extended workday. Consider the workers and the other demands on their time. People who have other significant responsibilities each day may require additional support such as child care facilities. Seasonal demands may also have to be considered. If the decision is made to try the extended workday, establish an experimental period. Introduce the extended workday gradually to small groups to allow more flexibility and better analysis of the situation. Evaluate the success of the new schedule by doing the following: Monitor health and safety. Look for any changes in accident rates, health levels and especially fatigue. Look for any changes in absenteeism rates. Although absences are not always a good measure of health or ill health, an increase may suggest a problem. On the other hand, a decrease may show that the extended workday is successful. Ask for workers' reactions and listen to their comments to find out how satisfied they are with the extended workday, and how well they have accepted it and adapted to it."""

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"Extended Workday: Safety Concerns" was written by Mary under the Health category. It has been read 230 times and generated 0 comments. The article was created on and updated on 23 November 2022.
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