Rich sources of shift-work research available online (Web Sight)

Tips for how employers can improve workplace safety and the health of shift workers
By Ann Macaulay
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/25/2005

The tragedies of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and the Exxon Valdez all occurred during the night shift, says the Canada Safety Council’s website. Irregular hours, long shifts and monotonous work all contribute to the reduction of alertness on the job, it adds.

Although most organizations don’t need to worry about disasters of such magnitude as nuclear plant accidents or oil spills, issues involving shift work and safety are a big concern for many employees and employers. From truckers to manufacturers to health-care workers, shift work is a critical safety concern.

As the CSC says, “the costs are devastating in human terms, and the economic consequences are enormous.” Indeed, the National Institute for Working Life in Sweden estimates that worldwide, sleep-deprived workers cost $350 billion US a year. The following sites examine the issues surrounding health concerns for shift workers and point to ways employers can improve workplace safety.