Work-Rest Ratio

Last Updated: December 31, 2020

Definition - What does Work-Rest Ratio mean?

The work-rest ratio is the time differential that separates the cumulative amount of work that an individual spends on assigned task(s) in proportion to rest periods designed to reduce or minimize episodes of fatigue or injury(s) that may occur. Safety and ergonomics represent the basis for coordinating a strategic plan that helps facilitate job performance standards, incorporating the work-rest ratio construct into a sound health and safety policy.

WorkplaceTesting explains Work-Rest Ratio

For many employers, an ergonomic risk assessment is a viable resource for identifying potential workplace hazards and developing and implementing solutions to temper the morbidity rate for employees who are susceptible to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). A detailed job safety analysis is the criterion for examining the workplace environment, appraising physical demands of various duties/tasks, biomechanical impact on the body, stress levels, ambient temperature, and force/vibration motions, often contributing to MSD-related cases. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ergonomic disorders are a substantial burden on the economic purse for employers, prompting incentives by companies to furnish education and training resources that prioritize work-rest ratios into the corporate landscape.

The work-rest ratio is a useful template for establishing the median range between physical exertion and rest periods employees may need to help their bodies recuperate following prolonged intervals of awkward or static posture and repetitive motions. Employees should be familiar with recognizing onsets of fatigue or progressive discomfort/pain, combining practical measures through stretching, alternating and rotating task(s) to avoid overtaxing muscle group(s) and, assuming temporary rest spells. When drafting a job description, the work-rest ratio is a vital component in weighing the physical demands associated with both manual or sedentary positions factoring into MSD-based scenarios that can result in medical liabilities and, inversely, hamper productivity.

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