The folks in the corporate offices aren't worrying about whether the troops in the energy business the field are getting burned out. But those in charge of managing the troops are concerned, and they believe that fatigue reduces overall workforce productivity and is at the root of production glitches.

This disconnect between the C-Suite and front-line managers around the issue of fatigue was a major finding in a survey commissioned by Kronos Inc. and conducted by the publication and research group  PennEnergy.

Depending upon a company's size and whether it has programs in place to manage worker fatigue, employee burnout in the energy biz could cost large players as much as $2.4 million annually, the survey estimated. Additionally, when the survey compared the effects of regular night shifts on worker fatique vs. long days (20 hours) or consecutively worked days (up to 14 without a day off), the outcome was in favor of night shifts. (The energy industry, like the medical profession, is known for such work schedules.)

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.