The vice president of Quiot Manufacturing claims that by reducing the work shifts of the workers, the number of on-the-job accidents at Quiot will reduce and this will increase the productivity of the workers. The vice president makes this claim based on the fact that Quiot Manufacturing had 30 percent more on the job accidents than the nearby Panoply Industries plant where the working hours are 1 hour less. However, to evaluate the argument, it is necessary to consider the various assumption this argument is based on -
The vice president assumes that the Panoply Industries and Quiot Manufacturies are similar and have the same working conditions. This is a major assumption since the two industries can be vastly different in their operation. For instance, Quiot manufacturing might manufacture products like blades or glass bottles that require a lot of care while being dealt with. Whereas, Panoply industries could be dealing with vastly different products like plush toys. In such a scenario, the workers at Quiot Manufacturing are more exposed to dangerous machines and materials compared to Panoply industries. Therefore, the workers at Quiot are more prone to accidents compared to the workers at Panoply. If this scenario is true, it highly undermines the argument that reducing work shifts by one hour will reduce the accidents.
Furthermore, the vice president assumes that the accidents are caused due to sleep deprivation and fatigue. He also assumes that the workers are sleep deprived due to the extra working hours. The accidents could be for a variety of reasons other than sleep deprivation. Perhaps Quiot doesn’t have all the safety measurements in place to operate the machinery or the workers are not trained well enough to deal with these machines without getting hurt. Even if it can be proved that fatigue and sleep deprivation cause the most number of accidents, it cannot be proved that an extra working hour is the cause of sleep deprivation. For instance, many of the workers might have night jobs at other industries and that is the major reason for sleep deprivation and not the extra hour at Quiot. If such a scenario exists, the argument will not hold water since reducing the work hours will not affect reducing the number of accidents.
The vice president also assumes that by reducing the number of accidents, the productivity of the workers is sure to increase. Even if the accidents reduce, the productivity might remain the same. However, if the working hours have reduced, the productivity is sure to decrease. Since the loss in productivity due to a few workers who met with an accident cannot be greater than the loss in productivity of all the workers by one hour.
In conclusion, the argument depends on several unwarranted assumptions that undermine the argument considerably. There needs to be sufficient proof provided regarding the correlation between sleep deprivation and accidents, the similarity of Q with P, and that reducing the number of hours will ensure a rise in productivity.