Long shifts create serious injury risks for warehouse workers

A warehouse is a dangerous work environment already, but at least one industry employer is making things even more hazardous by making employees to work long, grueling overnight shifts. When the length of a warehouse worker’s shift increases, so, too, does that worker’s injury risks

Per Vice, one of the nation’s largest employers of warehouse workers has begun making workers in some cities work “megacycle” shifts. Megacycle shifts are 10.5-hour graveyard shifts that take place between 1:20 a.m. and 11:50 a.m. While these long, physically demanding shifts raise quality of life concerns, they also place workers at a higher risk of exhaustion.

Why megacycle shifts are happening

Some warehouse employers want to boost efficiencies and shorten delivery times for customers, and they believe megacycle shifts help them do so. Having fewer employees work more hours cuts labor and benefits costs. However, requiring employees to lift and move items and boxes for extended lengths of time may lead to a wide range of serious injuries.

Why megacycle shifts are dangerous

Back and musculoskeletal injuries often result from work-related heavy lifting. Also, the constant bending, twisting and turning of the body warehouse work requires places a serious strain on the hips and knees. The exact impact of how much megacycle shifts raise injury risks is unclear. However, a recent study revealed that injury rates at the employer making workers in some cities work these shifts is twice that of all other warehouse employers nationwide.

Warehouse injuries are often serious and may require surgery or ongoing physical therapy. In some cases, they may lead to the end of a warehouse worker’s career.

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