Shift work leads to syndrome and successful WCB claim

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|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 07/21/2003

A Workers’ Compensation Board appeals tribunal in Nova Scotia has recognized “shift work maladaption syndrome” or “shift work sleep disorder” as a condition that should be compensated.

The ruling was based on the case of Richard Ross, whose shift work caused him to have debilitating insomnia. The tribunal said his case was an exceptional one, in which he had symptoms extreme enough to be disabling. At times, he says, he was only able to sleep one to three hours between shifts and feared for his safety on the job because of his resultant drowsiness.

Ross worked rotating shifts at the Michelin plant in Nova Scotia. In a short period of time he could work, for example, three days from midnight to 8 a.m., four days 4 p.m. to midnight, and then start working 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with only a couple of days off scattered in between.