GRE Argument Essay 93

The following appeared in a memo from a vice president of Alta Manufacturing.

“During the past year, Alta Manufacturing had thirty percent more on-the-job accidents than nearby Panoply Industries, where the work shifts are one hour shorter than ours. Experts believe that a significant contributing factor in many on-the-job accidents is fatigue and sleep deprivation among workers. Therefore, to reduce the number of on-the-job accidents at Alta and thereby increase productivity, we should shorten each of our three work shifts by one hour so that our employees will get adequate amounts of sleep.”

The vice president of Alta Manufacturing contends that on-the-job accidents can be reduced and productivity can be increased if the work shifts for the employees are shortened by one hour each. The arguer provides the example of the nearby Panoply Industries where the work shifts are an hour shorter than those of Alta Manufacturing and the frequency of on-the-job accidents are lesser than those of Alta Manufacturing by thirty percent. Additionally, the arguer provides the assumption that fatigue and sleep deprivation are a major cause of on-the-job accidents. This assumption leads the arguer to conclude that the employees will utilize the extra hour for getting an adequate amount of sleep, thereby reducing the chances of on-the-job accidents. There are a number of fallacies in the given argument that render the argument indefensible.

The arguer has completely ignored the other factors that may be responsible for a higher rate of on-the-job accidents in Alta Manufacturing as compared to Panoply Industries. It is likely that the quality of the machines being used by Panoply Industries is much better than those of Alta Manufacturing. Moreover, it is likely that the workers of Panoply Industries are well trained for handling the machines and the workers at Alta Manufacturing are not skilled enough to handle the machinery. Additionally, the arguer does not shed light on the nature of the work being carried out in Alta Manufacturing and Panoply Industries. There is a possibility that the work at Panoply Industries is largely automated. Hence, the workers at Panoply Industries may not be directly handling the machines leading to a lower rate of on-the-job accidents. Therefore, the argument cannot be substantiated by the evidence provided by the arguer in the form of a comparison between the rates of on-the-job accidents of these two different companies.

Even if the working conditions of Alta Manufacturing and Panoply Industries are comparable, it cannot be said with conviction that sleep deprivation leads to on-the-job accidents. The arguer has not presented any evidence that establishes this link and hence, it is difficult for the reader to digest the fact that the main reasons for on-the-job accidents are fatigue and sleep deprivation. Moreover, the arguer has overlooked the fact that it is not necessary that the extra hour provided to the workers by shortening their work shifts will be utilized by them for sleeping. It is likely that the workers may use the additional hour for some other work and they would be as sleep deprived as they had been when they had longer work shifts. Hence, the whole purpose of shortening their work shifts would be defeated.

Lastly, relating productivity to on-the-job accidents is a highly unreasonable assumption. The productivity of a company is dependent on various factors and on-the-job accidents are the least likely to feature in the list of such factors. The productivity of a company can be increased by training its workers, maintaining a good supply of raw materials, adhering to deadlines, utilizing a good management department, improving the types of machinery used and the technology being utilized. Therefore, the given argument has been considerably weakened by the assumption that a lesser number of on-the-job accidents will increase productivity.

The arguer could have substantiated his recommendation by providing evidence that proved the link between sleep deprivation, fatigue and on-the-job accidents. Moreover, there is a requirement of evidence that proves beyond doubt that the additional hour provided by shortening the work shifts will be utilized by the workers for sleeping. In the absence of such evidence, the recommendation made by the arguer is not justified.