A shift worker has to function on an 'unnatural' schedule. Constantly changing schedules can:
But here's the thing, shift work doesn't just have physical health side-effects, it can increase your chance of a fatal accident too.
Since prevention's always better than cure, implement measures in your workplace from the beginning to control and minimise shift work hazards as much as possible.
Use these four methods to minimise shift work hazards
Method#1: Organisational control options
For example, if you have an employee that only types letters, train her to file or operate the switchboard. This employee can then be used in the filing room and on the switchboard. This'll change in their daily operation will help them prevent boredom.
Method#2: Shift scheduling
The risk to your worker depends on when the shift is scheduled:
Compressed work week: These shifts usually involve three to four days of 10 to 12 hour shifts a week.
This provides more opportunities for family time and social activities.
Just keep in mind that these shifts can increase fatigue and decrease performance. They also increase the exposure to chemical, biological and physical hazards. Another problem is arranging childcare during these extended shifts.
If you can, the Health&Safety Advisor urges you to schedule shorter, but more frequent, shifts. If your workplace allows the possibility for a crèche at work, this can also be a useful solution for your employees who work shifts.
It can help encourage employees to work shifts, improve morality and positive attitude towards the company.
Permanent afternoon, evening or night shifts: These allow your workers time to adjust to working at a fixed time each day, but it can be disruptive to their social lives.
Method#3: Pay close attention to workplace design
You can use the design of your workplace to help improve conditions:
Method#4: Create a policy around violence and crime during shift working hours
Develop a policy to minimise the risk of crime and violence.
Remember, your night shift workers are exposed to the risk of robbery and muggings because they leave work at odd hours of the morning. They're also at risk of the possibility of an armed robbery at your plant/site where shift work takes place.
Your policy must:
There are many risks associated with shift work. But you can manage them with these methods.