Researchers in Spain have verified the existence of the Lunch Effect, that workplace accidents that occur between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm are more serious and more likely to be fatal than accidents at any other time of day.
According to an article describing the research in ScienceDaily, the hours closest to lunchtime account for only about 18% of accidents, but nearly 30% of all workplace fatalities. The Lunch Effect is true for workers who are young or old…just starting on the job, or with years of experience…in small businesses, or in large corporations…at all times of the year…with all types of machinery…and for all manner of falls.
“The gravity and mortality rate of accidents are higher in the hours around lunchtime, regardless of who, how, when, where or with what the accident happens,” Miguel A. Camino López, lead author of the study, said. The researcher in the Engineering and Responsible Management Group at the University of Burgos focused on the construction sector for this study.
The Lunch Effect remained true, even after researchers took other factors into account, such as the possibility of alcohol consumption at lunch, or whether the workers took naps (remember: this was Spain, where the siesta is still respected). The researchers looked at all accidents suffered by constructions workers in Spain from 1990 to 2002–a total of 10,239,303 accidents.
“Companies can use these figures to help them understand the times of day with especially high levels of accident gravity and mortality,” stresses Camino. “Workers should be informed of these risks, and the Ministry of Employment should make greater efforts to promote preventive measures in the construction sector, such as continuous shifts.”
To read the full ScienceDaily article, click here: Workplace Accidents Are Worse After Lunch
To read the article abstract from the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention, click here: The special severity of occupational accidents