5 Factors that help protect the wellbeing of night shift workers

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22 May 2017
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22 May 2017, Comments 0

There’s no official definition of a night shift worker in law. However the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that a night shift worker is someone who works outside of standard daytime hours and 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 naturally tuned to be more proactive in the day time and a lack of sleep would increase the cause of fatigue, which could lead to accidents while at work.

It’s important for organisations to provide adequate care and wellbeing for their Night shift workers, so that they can carry out their duties without being affected by fatigue. The HSE also covers some of the guidelines below:

Workload – 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.

Shift Pattern – 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, helps their body clock to slowly adapt thus reducing sleep loss and fatigue.

Rest – 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.

Physical Environment – 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.

Lone Working – 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, which would help them to raise an alarm with a press of the button if they are subjected to an attack, assault or accident.

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