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When are the most dangerous times of day for construction workers?

by | Feb 17, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Work on Milwaukee construction projects typically starts early in the morning, though there are some projects such as road construction that go on around the clock. A new study finds that workers on evening and night shifts are at higher risk of on-the-job injuries that result in workers’ compensation claims.

First four hours

Researchers at Oregon State University also found that the risk of traumatic workplace injuries to construction workers is greatest in the first four hours of their work shift.

Their study analyzes workers’ compensation injury claims by the hour in which the injuries occurred, with the goal of helping to make workplace safety measures more effective.

Lead study author Liu Yang said, “I really hope that people could learn from this and realize that the chance of getting injured or getting more severe injuries are related to the hours of your work.”

Researchers analyzed injury data from more than 12,000 workers’ comp claims in Oregon’s construction industry filed from 2007-2013 that resulted in the loss of at least three days of work. The data included injuries that resulted in hospitalization, as well as cases of permanent disability from work injuries and fatal injuries.

According to the study, nearly 80 percent of injuries were sustained among workers ages 25 to 54, noting that though older workers were injured less frequently, their medical costs were higher and they missed more work when they were injured.

Most dangerous times

Researchers also found that the most dangerous time for construction workers is their fourth hour of work, regardless of which shift they’re on. The hourly injury rate drops after the fourth hour but then goes up slightly at the end of their shift.

While injury rates drop after the fourth hour, injuries sustained in the fifth, sixth and seventh hours tend to be more severe.

The study also found that evening- and night-shift construction workers suffered injuries more frequently than those on the much more common day shift – and that the injuries suffered on the evening and night shifts are more severe.

Yang said her future research will focus on how the number of breaks workers are allowed affects injury rates.

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