Shift worker health and safety

In September 2017, NSC introduced its Fatigue Cost Calculator, a free online tool intended to help employers gauge how much fatigue is affecting their bottom line while providing strategies to help mitigate the problem.

The ongoing demand for round-the-clock services fuels many industries.

Enter shift work, which is a way of life for nearly 15 million Americans, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows. The prevalence of shift work has spurred multiple studies on its potential adverse effects on employee health and safety.

Among the studies is 2017 research from Chinese and Dutch scientists that found permanent night shift workers are 29 percent more likely to become overweight or obese than workers on rotating shifts. In January, another group of Chinese researchers concluded that women who have been long-term shift workers may be 19 percent more likely to develop breast, skin and gastrointestinal cancer.

Studies also link shift work to fatigue. A recent series of reports from the National Safety Council attributes 13 percent of workplace injuries to fatigue.

So the risks are well-documented, but are they well-known? And what about the remedies?

“It’s a complicated story, and I think it’s really important to recognize these risks, and we need to understand them and we need to treat them,” said Hans Van Dongen, Washington State University professor and director of the school’s Sleep and Performance Center. “But at the same time, I want to say that just because you’re a shift worker, you’re not necessarily doomed just because of that.”

Read the full article as originally posted in Safety & Health Magazine here

By | 2019-01-09T11:21:55+00:00 January 9th, 2019|Weekly News Round-Up|