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The Impact of Shift Work on the Risk and Severity of Injuries for Hospital Employees: An Analysis Using Oregon Workers' Compensation Data

Irwin B. Horwitz () and Brian McCall

Working Papers from Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus)

Abstract: While past research on health care workers has found that shift work can lead to negative physiological and psychological consequences, few studies have assessed the extent to which it increases the risk of specific work-related injuries, nor quantified and compared associated types, severity, and costs. This study aimed to derive and compare the rates, typologies, costs, and disability time of injuries for various hospital worker occupations by day, evening, and night shift. This study used Oregon workers' compensation data from 1990-1997 to examine the differences in hospital employee claims (n = 7,717) for day, evening, and night shifts in aggregate and by occupation, and data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) to provide the baseline for assessing relative risks. It was found that relative to day shift workers, the risk of sustaining an occupational injury was greater for evening shift workers (OR = 1.84) and night shift workers (OR = 1.58). The risk of injuries due to violence was also found to substantially increase for workers on the evening shift (OR = 3.70) and night shift (OR = 1.95). Workers on the night shift took about a week longer in disability leave for injuries (46.1 days) compared to the overall average (38.9 days). Evening and night shift hospital employees were found to be at greater risk of sustaining an occupational injury than day shift workers, with those on the night shift reporting injuries of the greatest severity as measured by disability leave.

Keywords: shift work; shiftworkers; workers’ compensation; health; occupational injury; health care workers; staffing; hospitals; work schedules (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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