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Longer Shift Length Tied to EMS Worker Injury

Posted on Sat, Sep 19, 2015
Longer Shift Length Tied to EMS Worker Injury

Those who work shifts of eight hours or less have lowest risk of occupational injury, illness

Longer shift lengths are tied to increased risk of occupational injury and illness among emergency medical services (EMS) workers, according to a study published online Sept. 14 in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Matthew D. Weaver, PhD, from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues analyzed data from three years of shift schedules and occupational injury and illness reports from 14 large EMS agencies.

The researchers' analysis involved 966,082 shifts, 4,382 employees, and 950 outcome reports. They found that the risk of occupational injury and illness was lower for shifts ≤eight hours in duration (relative risk [RR], 0.7) compared with shifts >eight and ≤12 hours. Similarly, compared with shifts >eight and ≤12 hours, risk of injury was 60 percent greater (RR, 1.6) for employees who worked shifts >16 and ≤24 hours.

"Shift length is associated with increased risk of occupational injury and illness in this sample of EMS shift workers," conclude the authors.

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