Under the Working Time Regulations 2003, employers must decide if they employ night workers. If you do, then night workers must be offered a free health check before commencing work, and periodically (usually every year) thereafter. Night Time is defined as the period between 11.00pm and 6.00am and a Night Worker is defined as someone who regularly works at least 3 hours of daily working time during 11.00pm and 6.00am.
The regulations recommend seeking health professional advice to design a suitable health questionnaire which is the minimum requirement. They also recommend offering examinations where the questionnaire shows there may be a problem. Employers must keep a record of the outcome of the examination for at least two years, and should consider the effects on young or pregnant workers in particular.
The purpose of a Night Worker Health Assessment is to determine whether a worker is fit to undertake the night work to which he/she has been assigned. Also, it is to determine whether the work will have an effect on the employee’s health.
Night work is associated with disrupted sleep patterns and natural bodily rhythms. This can impact on safe and effective performance and also on the health of the individuals. There are links between night work and digestive disorders, heart disease, headaches, stress and depression. Many existing health problems affect an individuals ability to perform night work, such as diabetes, heart disease, or any condition requiring regular medication.
We can advise on designing a suitable programme of health assessment tailored to the specific needs of your organisation and undertake it for you, offering a record for you to keep and advice to you and your staff.