LONDON, 21 Sep, 2017

Long shifts, lack of breaks and poor rostering are contributing to an emergency service that is dangerously overworked and needs urgent attention according to new Kronos Incorporated research released today revealing that 85 percent of Emergency Service workers are worried they will suffer burnout on the job. The research conducted on over 200, UK-based, paramedics, firefighters, police force workers, and A&E (Accident & Emergency) staff, also found that nearly three quarters (74 percent) have already suffered from workplace fatigue, due to being overworked.

News Facts

  • Rest and Breaks are essential. In these high-intensity environments, where staff are expected to be alert and able to react to sometimes life or death situations, it’s imperative they get adequate rest between shifts to be able to perform the job safely. However the study also found 72 percent of Emergency Service workers are regularly getting less than 6 hours sleep – two hours less than the National Institute of Health’s recommended amount.
    • Over half (51 percent) of Emergency Service employees have worked over 11 consecutive hours without a break, which is not only illegal, but greatly increases their risk of burning out if repeated consistently.
  • Caring for people counts. Despite the long hours, it’s their love of helping people that drives them. Out of a list of motivators, surprisingly the most popular choice wasn’t pay (40 percent) it was “helping people” (60 percent), while “enjoyment of the job” and “colleagues/colleague support” also ranked highly (37 percent and 29 percent respectively).
  • Ineffective rostering the root of the problem? So what can be done to help? Sixty-one percent feel shift rostering is not done effectively, which can result in them working more than they should, or at very short notice, leading to tiredness and stress. Less than a quarter of Emergency Service workers (24 percent) felt rostering is done effectively, which can lead to employees working longer shifts, or more often than they should -- sometimes in excess of what is legally allowed:
    • Forty percent of police force employees have worked a shift of more than 12 hours without a break.
    • Fifty-eight percent of Emergency Service workers have been called in to work with less than 4 hours notice because of staff shortages.
  • Using rostering systems that automatically check which qualified and available Emergency Service workers are available to cover shifts would ensure the same people are not being regularly asked to work overtime and ensure shifts are more fairly distributed – reducing the risk of fatigue and preventing burnout.

Supporting Quotes

  • Gavin England, ‎industry and customer insights manager, Kronos
    “Emergency service personnel are motivated by the need to help people – for them this is a vocation rather than simply a job. That sense of purpose and obligation drives them to focus more on delivering a great service, rather than making sure they are sticking to their hours and thinking about their own wellbeing. “Our research reinforces the important role that duty managers operating in this space play. There is a real responsibility on managers to ensure their employees are getting adequate rest, especially if being asked to operate for extended periods of time. Not only is this their legal obligation, but failing to do so could lead to an increased risk of fatigue that can impair decision making and eventually lead to burnout.”

Supporting Resources

1Research Methodology

The “Emergency Services in Crisis” asked more than 200 paramedics, police, firefighters, and A&E (Accident & Emergency) workers in the UK about the number of hours they working, the frequency of breaks, their sleeping habits and wellbeing. The survey was conducted between 2 August 2017 and 10 August 2017 by independent third-party research firm Censuswide.


About Kronos Incorporated

Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations — including half of the Fortune 1000® — and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Visit www.kronos.com. Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works.

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