On the night shift

Exhausted employees cost millions in accidents, lost productivity
By Jennifer Allen
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 07/25/2002

Since the invention of the light bulb, the human race has had the ability to be up and about, 24 hours a day. Whether it’s work or play, we can stay up all night to do more of it. But how able are we, really, to handle the consequences of our non-stop activity?

Human beings were designed to be awake during the day and sleep at night. These natural sleep-wake rhythms are ingrained in us from the day we’re born. Turning those rhythms upside down by working night shifts leaves us fatigued and out-of-sorts.

For companies that run 24 hours a day — or for those thinking of introducing additional shifts, 24-hour operations requires careful consideration of the special issues involved in operating around the clock. Compensation, overtime and benefits are just some of the policies that will need to be overhauled. Even more important are the risks that come with working through the night.