Working hours, sleep, and fatigue in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector: A scoping review
Introduction: Agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry (AgFF) workers often work extremely long hours during peak production seasons, resulting in sleep deprivation and fatigue. The National Occupational Research Agenda has classified fatigue as a “significant safety issue” and area of concern for many industry sectors, including AgFF. This review explores current research and practice in AgFF and proposes next steps. Methods: We conducted a scoping literature review to examine the extent and nature of research in this area. Article inclusion criteria included peer‐reviewed journal articles written in English; published after 1989; covering AgFF workers in high‐income countries; with data on working hours/schedules and sleep related to safety and health. Results: Limited research has addressed long hours and sleep deprivation among AgFF workers. We identified 8350 articles for title and abstract review. Among those, 407 underwent full‐text review and 96 met all inclusion criteria (67%agriculture, 25% fishing/seafood processing, 8% forestry). The literature provided some evidence fatigue contributes to fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in AgFF. Older, new, young, foreign‐born, and female workers, as well as those who work in small organizations or longer hours (40+) may be at higher risk for fatigue‐related injury and illness. Few studies have developed or evaluated interventions to control risks. Discussion: Given that fatigue is a factor in injury and illness for this sector, future AgFF surveillance and research should increase efforts to capture fatigue and sleep data, directly investigate the role of long hours and nonstandard work schedules in the sector, and most importantly, create practical interventions to manage fatigue.