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Long shifts create higher injury risks for warehouse workers

Working in a New Jersey warehouse is tough on your body under any circumstance. Yet, long, laborious shifts may prove particularly brutal. To improve efficiency and fulfill more customer orders faster, one of the nation’s most prominent warehouse employers is now requiring workers at some of its warehouses to work something called “megacycle” shifts.

What are megacycle shifts, and how do they raise injury risks in warehouse environments?

Defining megacycle shifts

A megacycle shift is a graveyard, or late-night, shift that lasts 10 hours or longer. These long shifts are becoming more common, but many oppose them because they not only raise injury risks, but create additional problems for working mothers and others for whom these long, late-night shifts are not feasible.

Assessing risks associated with megacycle shifts

Megacycle shifts involve a high level of risk for two main reasons. First, long shifts, in general, may increase injury risks because the workers are more prone to fatigue when working long hours. Graveyard shifts, in general, also increase risks, as some workers are not as mentally sharp in the middle of the night as they are during the day. Also telling is the fact that the warehouse employer making some of its employees work megacycle shifts sees twice as many injuries among its staff than the average warehouse employer.

Some warehouse workers have claimed that they are in danger of losing their jobs if they refuse to work these long, dangerous megacycle shifts, even though these shifts create clear risks to their physical and mental health.

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