Infographic: Considering the Health Hazards of Shift Work

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As a follow up to the recent blog post on research into shift work, here is an excellent and very informative infographic from Eastern Kentucky University’s program that focuses on occupational safety.

Note that the infographic includes both night shifts and those who have irregular schedules as shift workers, and that 40 percent of U.S. workers work evenings, nights, rotating shifts or weekends.

Though there is usually some sort of compensation, whether more money, or extra paid time off, health complications are numerous, and this blog will continue to bring that research to light as it is discovered.

I find rotating shifts very challenging to consider – if a person completely flips, or even changes by eight hours, their shift every three or four weeks, what does that do to them as a person, and also, what does it do to their loved ones? I realize that not everyone has the luxury of choosing their shifts, but this article from the Washington Post has some fascinating information about how children are affected by shift work. I also appreciate that policy implications are addressed a bit, too. Though it would be an uphill battle to get these protections passed in many places, think of the stability they would add to workers and their loved ones lives.

“In 2015, 10 states and a growing number of municipalities have introduced bills to address unpredictable scheduling, with many including provisions requiring three weeks advance notice, 11 hours of rest between shifts, access to adequate hours, and predictability pay to compensate employees for last-minute schedule changes,” according to the Washington Post.

Rotating shifts are stated as a struggle for 60 percent of shift workers, but they are still “able to do their jobs,” according to the Eastern Kentucky University infographic. However, the infographic also addresses that 20 percent of shift workers “have extreme difficulty with shifts and about half of those are unable to tolerate shift work at all.”

So whether the shift is 4 p.m. to midnight, all night long, or eight or 12 hours, please keep in mind that workers and their loved ones are affected, and employers should do their best to decrease those challenges to both retain workers and increase productivity.


EKU Occupational Safety Program

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