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Extended work hours should factor into return to job after injury
Date:1/16/2008

used data from surveys conducted between 1988 and 2000, collecting a pool of 5,313 reported work-related injuries and illnesses among the 110,236 job and health records available for analysis.

More than 4 million nonfatal workplace injuries occur each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The researchers examined workers' ability to return to their occupations based on whether they worked a standard day shift or one of many possible nonstandard schedules. The nonstandard schedules were defined as almost any shift outside the regular eight-hour day shift or one of five types of extended work-hour schedules identified for the analysis. These included extended hours per day (at least 12), extended hours per week (at least 60), overtime, extended commute time (two or more hours per day) and a summary category of any type of extended-hour schedule.

The analysis showed that injured workers in nonstandard schedules were considerably more likely to be fired, to quit, or to return to work at less than full-time capacity than workers with conventional work schedules.

Extended hours appeared to have a more substantial impact on returning to work than did nonstandard shifts, such as night, evening, rotating, irregular or split shifts. However, the analysis did show that when considered as one group, injured workers returning to a job with any type of nonstandard shift were 53 percent more likely to be fired than employees with regular schedules.

Factors beyond workplace conditions also influenced the ability to return to work. Employees with long commutes had by far the greatest danger of being fired (a 377 percent greater likelihood) or changing occupations (127 percent higher likelihood) following an occupational injury or illness compared to injured workers without such commutes.

The findings point to a need for rehabilitation specialists to tailor their return-to-work plans to individual employees' sch
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Contact: Allard Dembe
adembe@cph.osu.edu
614-292-2129
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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