Throwback Thursday: Shift work and health
In the May 1992 issue of SHP, Dr Keay Smith wrote the first of a two part article on shift work and how it can affect health. Shift work can be something workers take on assuming it will be a short term thing, but often it continues for months or even years. These workers may not be given the correct training needed to cope with the changes to their lifestyle – changes that include sleeping at odd hours, eating at different times, and being out of sync with family and friends.
One of the biggest impacts on a worker’s health is the change to their sleeping patterns. In part 2 of the article, published in June 1992, Dr Smith goes into greater detail about how shift work affects sleep and how to avoid the worst effects of sleep deprivation. Fatigue also plays a factor in accidents, as it can lead to impaired memory and slowed reaction times. The article goes on to include examples of how to counter sleep deprivation by making to changes to diet, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and helping family and friends to understand the importance of sleep, even when it’s on a different schedule to theirs.
Sleep and Fatigue: Director’s Briefing
Fatigue is common amongst the population, but particularly among those working abnormal hours, and can arise from excessive working time or poorly designed shift patterns. It is also related to workload, in that workers are more easily fatigued if their work is machine-paced, complex or monotonous.
This free director’s briefing contains:
- Key points;
- Recommendations for employers;
- Case law;
- Legal duties.