Shift Worker Health and Safety

According to a recent article from Safety + Health Magazine, there are nearly 15 million Americans who are “round-the-clock” shift workers.  Due to this line of work’s “round-the-clock” scheduling, it presents many potential health risks to workers.  Some telling information and statistics about the dangers of shift work:

  • Research studies link shift work to adverse health conditions such as obesity and cancer.
  • A National Safety Council report states that 13% of workplace injuries are a result of fatigue.
  • According to a 2016 study from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, shift work can disrupt circadian clocks, decreasing a person’s sleep quality, mood, metabolism and cardiovascular health while boosting the risk for some diseases.

So, what’s a shift worker to do?  Here are just a few preventative measures to avoid fatigue and maximize energy:

  • According to the National Sleep Foundation, a walk before your shift in daylight (which is a natural stimulant) is beneficial.
  • A mug of your favorite caffeinated beverage,  such as coffee,  during the first half of the shift can give you an energy boost.
  • It is wise to avoid any caffeinated beverages and products several hours before bedtime.
  • Workers should take short breaks and move around when possible.

It is important for “round-the-clock” shift workers to be alert at all times in order to avoid a workplace accident or develop a work related illness.  Employers, employees, and industry stakeholders also need to manage corporate infrastructure and culture in order to address continued concerns about fatigue and workplace safety.

If you should experience a workplace accident during your shift or develop a work related illness, please contact FOA Law today so we can answer all your questions, address your concerns, and discuss eligibility for Workers’ Compensation benefits.


Source:  National Safety Council Safety + Health Magazine, 12/20/18