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If you employees work night shift, use these six tips to keep them alert

by , 19 August 2013
Night shift work is considered to be a risk. And like all risks, these need to be prevented, reduced or eliminated as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). Here are six tips you can use to promote alertness if your employees work night shift.

Did you know that human physical functions follow a daily rhythm of a 24-hour cycle, called circadian rhythms?

These rhythmical processes are co-ordinated to allow for high activity during the day and low activity at night. This means our body temperature is the highest in the afternoon and early evening (18h00) and the lowest in the early morning (just before sunrise), explains the Health&Safety Advisor.

So when your employees work a night shift, their body temperature doesn't have as much variation during a 24- hour period as it normally would. The temperature rhythm and other body rhythms get out of sync. This can lead to fatigue and disorientation, which can cause serious accidents while working.

That's why it's crucial for you to keep your employees alert during shift work.

Six ways to promote alertness during night shift work

Just as you can take steps to ensure your shift workers get a good night's or day's sleep, you can try these steps to guarantee they stay alert on the job, says the Health&Safety Advisor.

Here's how:

#1: Create an exciting environment, with music to help keep the employees awake during the shift.

#2: Encourage your shift workers to exchange ideas with their colleagues on ways to cope with the problems of shift work.

#3: Encourage your shift workers to exercise during breaks. If possible have a training facility available, such as a basic gym.

#4: Don't leave the most tedious or boring tasks to the end of your shift when employees are likely to feel the drowsiest.

#5: If possible, encourage your shift workers to take a walk, stretch or climb stairs to promote alertness if fatigue sets in.

#6: Instruct managers and supervisors to talk with co-workers during their shifts to help them keep alert.

Night shift work can take a toll on your employees. But with these tips, you'll help them stay alert and productive throughout their shift.

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