Ending mandatory EMT overtime is the right move

Eliminating mandatory overtime at HEMS shows negotiation between labor and management can come to a solution


Finally, some news I want to share.

It would’ve been pretty straightforward to once again point out failed leadership at DCFEMS, but the proposal at Honolulu EMS that would end 16-hour shifts as a result of mandatory overtime makes for a more positive story that improves both the agency and its workforce, not to mention the health of its community.

Fatigue is an issue that can lead to greater likelihood of injury, mistakes in judgment, and low morale.

In my younger days, I could see doing back-to-back 16-hour shifts — for a short period. Only getting a few hours of sleep, and zero hours of down time in between shifts does not create a healthy work-life balance.

Yet there are still many departments that do 24-hour shifts, and in California there’s been a move to do 48-hour shifts. On a fire apparatus that goes out only a handful of times during the tour, that might work. But for an ambulance crew that is awake for most of the time, I can’t imagine it to be very healthy. But, I digress.

In HEMS’ situation, there seems to finally be an agreement on the logistical details to create less demanding work schedules and forced overtime. I imagine there was some negotiation between labor and management to come to a solution that benefits everyone involved.

Cooperative approaches like this are far better than one-sided edicts. 

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