NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours

Injuries/Errors (Continued)

Work schedule patterns with higher risks for worker error and injury

Compared with regular day shifts starting after 7:00 a.m., risks for accidents and errors increase for these:45

  • Night shifts, by 28%
  • Evening shifts, by 15%

Compared with 8-hour shifts, risks for accidents and errors increase for these:45

  • 10-hour shifts, by 13%
  • 12-hour shifts, by 28%

One study indicates a possible “dose response”: as work hours increase, injury rates among workers increase.46

Sharps injuries associated with shift work and long hours

Researchers have reported the following increases in risk:

  • A 9% increase in the relative risk of a needlestick for nurses working 12 or more hours per day, compared with those working 8 hours per day47
  • A 3-fold increase in risk of sharps injury for medical residents, associated with long hours and sleep deprivation48
  • Double the risk for injury with sharp objects when medical residents worked night shift and 61% higher risk when working extended hours49
  • A higher risk for needlestick and other work-related injury (and missing more than 2 days of work because of these) associated with mandatory overtime50
Module: 3, Page 12 of 28
Page last reviewed: March 31, 2020