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The health consequences of shift work.

Tasto DL
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHEW (NIOSH) Publication No. 78-156, 1978 Mar; :37-41
A study on the the possible effects of shift work on the incidence of health problems, psychological problems, and industrial accidents was described and discussed. The study included 2,400 subjects: 1,200 nurses and 1,20O food processing workers. In the first phase of the study, worker health and safety files were reviewed to obtain data for three different variables, sick days taken, clinic visits, and accidents. The second phase employed a questionnaire distributed to the workers. The results showed that both fixed and rotating shift workers took about the same number of sick days, but that the reasons given by the rotating shift workers tended to involve more serious illnesses. The rotating shift workers made significantly more clinic visits than the fixed shift workers. They also had more total accidents than fixed shift workers. The questionnaire responses indicated that sleep disruption was the most common reported problem in rotating shift work. The results also indicated a greater number of domestic problems, a higher incidence of gastrointestinal disorders, and a possible decrease in psychological well being. The authors conclude that companies that use or are intending to use shift rotation systems should be aware of these related problems and should attempt to maximize worker shift preference by offering both fixed and rotating schedules, with both rapid and slow rotation intervals.
NIOSH-Contract; Contract-78-0647; Worker-health; Shift-work; Circadian-rhythms; Sleep-disorders; Health-care-personnel; Gastrointestinal-system-disorders; Psychological-effects; Occupational-accidents; Food-processing-workers
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Funding Type
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Identifying No.
DHEW (NIOSH) Publication No. 78-156
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division