Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1998;24 suppl 3:103-108    pdf

A technique to take leave into account in shift-rota design

by Gärtner J, Wahl S, Hörwein K

Sick leave, vacations, and the like lead to substantial leave factors. Rota design techniques for covering leave are not always feasible. A small company was helped to develop a new rota. The main requirements were an ergonomically better rota, less overtime caused by leave, and a rota that lets employees take their vacation during the summer. The internal evaluation was unanimously positive after 1 year. A prospective leave coverage was used, with different workhours during summer and spring and with a mixture of shift work and flexible day work. Later the rota was further refined, and broader qualifications of the workers made a much simpler rota possible. The experiences of this study indicate that problems with leave can be reduced if expected variations in leave are considered in the rota design by including variations in work hours. A further promising strategy is to mix shift work with other types of work if time is not a critical factor.