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Extended Workdays in an Underground Mine: A Work Performance Analysis
  • Published Date:
    1/1/2010
Filetype[PDF - 1.74 MB]


Details:
  • Description:
    The use of extended workdays or compressed workweeks (regular shift lengths exceeding 8 h) is attracting growing interest in many industries using continuous operations. While extended workdays promise increased worker satisfaction due to more days off, including weekends and holidays, there are legitimate concerns about the potential effects on the health and safety of such a schedule. The U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) conducted a study at a Canadian underground copper, lead, and zinc mining operation that was designed to study the safety and performance implications of extended workdays. Measures were taken before and after a change from the old 8-h continuous schedule to the new 12-h continuous schedule, including behavioral performance measures to analyze perceptual-motor changes, continuous heart-rate monitoring and aerobic capacity to measure physical fatigue, a variety of self-report questionnaires to measure perceived adaption and satisfaction with the new schedule, and pulmonary-respiratory measures to examine air contaminant exposure. Based upon the overall acceptance of the new schedule by the workers and lack of change in fatigue-sensitive behavioral and physiological performance measures, this study recommends that the mine retain the 12-h schedule. However, certain precautionary measures are suggested to insure the safety of the workers.

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