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Shift work: Health and performance effects.
Environmental and occupational medicine, second edition. Rom WN, ed. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1992 Jan; :1173-1177
Shift work has been associated with immediate risks to workers and to public safety and long term risks to worker health and well being. Reduced alertness as a result of both night work and poor sleep have been linked to the immediate risks. Increased intolerance to the stress and strain of constantly switching from a daytime to a nighttime orientation may be responsible for some of the long term health problems. More studies have demonstrated the immediate effects of sleep loss than have examined the long term effects. These immediate effects may affect the worker's ability to perform activities safely and efficiently, both on and off the job. Decreased alertness has been demonstrated with substantive reports, objective performance testing, and EEG readings which have revealed brief, on the job, sleep episodes. Poor quality of daytime sleep has appeared to contribute to the nighttime difficulties. A nighttime worker experiencing a combination of sleep deprivation and unadapted circadian rhythms was likely to be at higher risk than a day worker for operational errors or accidents. Social and familial disruptions were also prevalent among shift workers. Recent intensive studies of the incidence of ischemic heart disease and cardiovascular risk factors in shift workers produced stronger associations than previous studies. Various countermeasures to protect workers from the added strains of shift work were briefly considered.
Risk-factors; Risk-analysis; Sleep-disorders; Mental-stress; Job-stress; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Physical-stress; Shift-workers; Work-performance; Psychological-effects; Employee-health
Environmental and occupational medicine, second edition
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division