In the quest to maximize productivity and cost efficiency, some workplaces overlook the importance of making sure their employees take regular breaks. This is especially troublesome when it comes to working in potentially dangerous environments where accidents can result in injury or even death.
Why Breaks are Important
It is a well understood fact that taking breaks allows workers to refresh, refocus and work more effectively than those who forgo breaks. On the other side of the equation, working without breaks is known to cause fatigue, affect judgement, and negatively impact the quality of work being done. Any of these factors could result in incidents that affect the safety of the worker and those around them.
Boring or repetitive tasks can lead to carelessness or fatigue. Switching between tasks at regular intervals and taking breaks allows the brain to stay focused on the job at hand and avoid the kind of mental distraction that could lead to accidents.
If working outside in the sun and heat, it is imperative that you listen to your body and take regular breaks. Even appropriate clothing and hydration is no match for the sweltering temperatures often encountered during the summer. Breaks in the shade will help keep your body from overheating. The harder you’re working, the more breaks you need to take.
As the amount of research on overworking continues to grow, the evidence overwhelmingly proves that the cons heavily outweighing the pros. Studies have shown that being awake for 24 to 25 hours has a similar effect on awareness and reflexes as a .10 blood alcohol content, and those impairments only get worse the longer one stays awake. And productivity sharply declines after working more than 50 hours a week.
Some of the worst work zone accidents in history such as the Exxon Valdez spill and Chernobyl disaster have been attributed to lack of sleep and overworking. Keep that in mind next time you consider pushing through your breaks or cutting into sleep to complete a task or job. In the meantime, visit the Workrite Uniform shop to see how you can better protect your more important asset- your workforce.