As online shopping continues to grow in popularity, so, too, does a need for warehouse workers to gather all purchased items and set them up for shipping. However, as warehouse employers lengthen shifts to get more work accomplished, many warehouse workers and safety advocates have become increasingly concerned about the link between long shifts and injuries.
According to Vice, one of the nation’s largest warehouse employers recently began making its employees work “megacycle” shifts to keep up with consumer demand. What does that mean, and how does it create dangers for American warehouse workers?
Megacycle shifts are 10-and-a-half-hour graveyard shifts that dome warehouses are requiring their workers to perform or risk losing their jobs. These long shifts create many challenges for employees and families. They may prove particularly challenging for female employees who may have young children at home.
These shifts have also raised important questions about how some employers are prioritizing profits over the safety of their own team members.
Risks associated with megacycle shifts
When workers who usually pick and pack boxes for between about six and eight hours at a time suddenly have to do so for 10-hour stretches or longer, the chances of them suffering work-related injuries increase. According to one 2020 report, one of the nation’s biggest warehouse operators that started making employees work megacycle shifts saw warehouse injury rates in its facilities that were more than double those seen at other American warehouses.
Megacycle shifts may wreak havoc on the bodies of warehouse workers. However, these long shifts during unfavorable hours may have impacts on employee mental health, too.