Examining the 72 Consecutive Hour Work Limit

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Steven A. Zwirn


The PCFSD had no way to determine if an employee could safely work up to or in excess of 72 consecutive hours. The purpose was to determine how many consecutive hours it is safe to work. Descriptive research discovered: industry standards for consecutive work hour limits; the correlation between call volume and work hour limits; consecutive work hour legal, medical, or other standards; and evaluation devices for fitness testing. A survey and interviews indicated PCFSD employees are safe working up to, but not more than, 72 hours. To ensure the safety of working up to 72 hours, PCFSD must increase staffing during peak seasons, rotate firefighters off of ambulance and out of busy stations, and monitor the effects of the 48/96-work schedule.