Night workers

Night Workers and Fatigue - Know your limits!

Posted By stephanie hancox on 2018-03-20 14:27

Many employers opt to have employees work either consistent night shifts or have a number of employees to perform day and night shift on a rotating basis. Although night work has proven effective in increasing productivity, many employers often overlook the health risks to the individual; which in turn can have disastrous consequences. 

One of the main health consequences of a night worker is Fatigue! 

Fatigue is defined as the decrease in both mental and/or physical performance which is the direct result of either:...                                                                                                                                                                                         

  • A temporary or consistent disturbance of the bodies natural body clock
  • Sleep debt which stems from the insufficient quality of sleep
  • Pro-longed exertion
  • A repetitive, monotonous and complex workload such as that of a factory worker can also increase the employee's risk of fatigue.


Possible Consequences of Fatigue:

  • Reduced productivity and quality of work. 
  • Increase of minor to serious incidents.
  • Increase in employee absences.                                                    

Fatigue affects much more than just the employee's attention span and there isn't a universal quick fix. This is mainly due to the bodies natural body clock taking anything between a number of days to several weeks to fully adjust; and with many employees on a rotating shift pattern, it is highly advised to monitor the employee's health. A thorough risk assessment is also required and factors such as their home life should be considered. 

Before any night work is undertaken, it is advised that a night worker questionnaire is completed to be reviewed by an OH nurse to ensure the employee is fit to undertake specific tasks. Although this initial questionnaire is optional, night workers are required to have a thorough night worker medical on an annual basis. 

For more information on night worker medicals, please get in touch either via email, phone or social media.


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