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  • MLCA

Long work hours at sea: what's up?

1) extended hours per week: regularly working more than 60 hours per week, and

2) extended hours per day: regularly working 12 or more hours per day. His analysis showed those working more than 60 hours per week had a 23% greater risk for a workplace injury or illness, and those regularly working 12 or more hours per day had a 37% greater risk of an injury or illness than someone working fewer hours. This analysis controlled for age, gender, occupation, industry and region of the country. The impact of a demanding work schedule may be made worse by the “intermediary condition” of fatigue and stress. In addition, factors such as hazard or the intensity of work will influence the impact that schedule has on the risk of injury or illness. Personal characteristics such as age, gender, and health status will influence risk and health impact as well. The organizational factors may have less relevance for the fishing community other than to the extent that regulations limit the hours during which fishing can be undertaken. A study published in 2010 reported the results of research conducted by Paul Allen of Cardiff University’s Centre for Occupational Health Psychology and his colleagues in which they surveyed 81 British fishermen. Their findings revealed that 60% of these interviewed believed their personal safety had been at risk because of fatigue; 16% reported “having been involved in a fatigue-related accident”; and 44% said they had “worked to the point of exhaustion or collapse.” In conclusion, in the fishing industry — the lobster fishery in this case — we are not exempt from the impacts of fatigue. The job is hazardous, the time on task is considerable, the work hours can be long. So to answer the question in this article’s title: your risk of injury and illness is up. Get some sleep!

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