The HSE’s definition of a night shift worker is someone who works outside of standard daytime hours, commonly for a period of between 7pm – 7am. In certain industries it’s a necessity to provide a service 24 hours of the day and some examples of this would be medical, police and security, which also includes our very own Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), where our Controllers are on hand to provide assistance 24/7.
One of the main health concerns for a night shift worker is fatigue. Our body clocks are tuned to be proactive in the day time. A lack of sleep would increase the cause of fatigue, which can lead to accidents at work.
It’s important for organisations to provide adequate care and well-being for their Night shift workers, so that they can carry out their duties without being affected by fatigue.
If the workload is more than that can be handled then the shift workers are more likely to be affected by fatigue and therefore suffer a reduction in productivity. Organisations should consider scheduling any demanding work for shift workers when they are more alert i.e. early into a shift. It would also be beneficial to workers if there’s a variety of tasks that requires different mental and physical demands.
Rotating shift pattern helps to reduce the number of night shifts a particular worker has to do. Implementing a forward shift rotation, where the worker progresses from morning to afternoon to night shifts in a clockwise direction. This helps body clocks to slowly adapt thus reducing sleep loss and fatigue.
The Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) states that you need to provide at least 11 hours rest period between shifts so that workers can commute, sleep, eat meals and participate in domestic or social activities.
It’s important to provide the appropriate facilities for shift worker to carry out their work. For instance; the heating should be adjustable since there could be a drop in temperature during the night.
Just like regular day time workers, night shift workers may also find themselves working alone. Therefore it’s important to invest in a lone worker solution like the MicroGuard from Guardian24. This enables them to call for help where otherwise they might not be able to. Especially as their manager, etc might be tucked up in bed, sound asleep.