Working multiple jobs found to increase injury risk
Workers who juggle more than one job have a 27 per cent higher rate of work-related injury compared to those holding just one job.
This excess risk was uncovered by researchers from the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety who mined data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for the period 1997 to 2011. In fact, they believe even this excess risk is understated.
Their findings were published in the study Work in Multiple Jobs and the Risk of Injury in the U.S. Working Population in the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers found more than eight per cent of employed U.S. residents work multiple jobs. They also reported young (aged 18-24) multi-job holders (MJHs) to be at particular risk for suffering a work-related injury.
The researchers offered various possibilities for the excess suffered by MJHs compared to single job holders (SJHs), including:
· inexperience in one or more of the jobs
· lack of employer investment in workers employed only part time
· fatigue from long hours
· hectic structure of a work week that includes two jobs
· mental stress, and
· evening work.
Here in Canada, researchers from the Institute of Work and Health (IWH) have studied why young workers have higher injury rates than older workers and found some of the same reasons for this excess. Specifically, they pointed to newness (inexperience) and not age as a key factor. They also highlighted the lack of health and safety training as well as employment in higher risk jobs.
So rather than focusing on the misguided notion of young worker carelessness, the Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) and many others subscribe to a hazard-based approach to occupational health and safety. This is at the heart of all WHSC training. Participants learn about unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, hazard identification strategies and measures for eliminating or controlling worker exposure.
Also important is for employers to ensure they understand and meet their extension training obligations required by law. The WHSC offers a host of training programs to assist employers in meeting these obligations, including those for new workers. A good place to start would be the WHSC’s Awareness Training for Workers.