Impacts of extended working hours in logging
Last year at the 2007 AIM in Minneapolis, MN, the authors presented the human factors impacts to consider when implementing extended working hours in the logging industry. In a continuation of this project, we have researched existing literature to identify possible actions that logging business owners can take to reduce the impact of extended working hours on their employees. Fatigue and mental burnout associated with working long shifts may be reduced by scheduling two or more substantial rest breaks during a shift. Seated exercises or short breaks where operators dismount equipment may relieve the physical impacts of sedentary machine operation. Encouraging employees to try alternative sleep schedules may help workers adjust to late shift working hours. Safety plans should be revised to provide better communication between machine operators during the late shift, and to address additional personal protective equipment for late shift workers. Interviews for hiring new employees should include questions that are structured to find personality traits that may help identify applicants that are more suited for the late shift. Social impacts of permanent late shift assignments may be reduced by offering a flexible schedule where employees can change schedules when needed. Human factors impacts of implementing extended working hours in logging is often overlooked, with the majority of the early planning focused on the financial aspects of implementation. The results of this study may be useful to those considering implementing extended working hours and also to those who have already begun implementation.