Factsheet on Health Effects of Shift and Night Working

The 24-hour society is an exciting, challenging aspect of modern life. Services
are provided and goods are produced at all hours of the day and night.
Twenty-four hour opening at supermarkets has become a way of life for both
shop-workers and the public.

Traditional shift-working industries have been joined by high profile
international city law firms and bankers working through the night together
with all the support staff they would have during the day: secretaries, graphic
designers, accountants.

Manufacturing, hospitals, newspapers, bakers, long-haul truckers, airports, the
police, are just some of the sectors where people have traditionally needed to
work continuously. More recently relaxation in licensing laws has meant that
far more employees in restaurants, bars and clubs are working later into the
night. Call centres too offer a growing number of services twenty-four hours a
day: 24-hour banking, legal advice lines, NHS direct etc.

Demanding work schedules are a fact of life in modern society, but 24-hour
living can also harm your health. Shift-work schedules can be a physical and
metal strain and mistakes from a fatigued shift-worker also can affect the
public's safety or health.

Shift-working is not new. How do we make sure that the 24/7 society works to
our advantage? The UK - London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has published a
factsheet on the health effects of shift and night working. A better
understanding of how shift work and fatigue in particular affect the body and
people's lives will help us plan for healthier safer and more productive
workplaces 24 hours a day.

List of contents

  1. 24-hour society
  2. 24-hour rhythms: biological and social
  3. health and shift work
  4. alertness and fatigue
  5. driving and fatigue
  6. legal regulations
  7. shift planning considerations
  8. developing a productive and safer workplace for shift-working
  9. avoiding fatigue: adjustment strategies and advice
  10. shift-work as a positive experience

Further Information

AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work