Shift Work refers to a work activity scheduled outside standard daytime hours, where there may be a handover of duty from one individual or work group to another; a pattern of work where one employee replaces another on the same job within a 24-hour period.
Examples of shift work might be work during the afternoon, night or weekend, typically with periods of the work schedule outside standard daytime hours; extended work periods of twelve hours or more, often associated with compressing the working week; rotating hours of work; split shifts; overtime and standby/on-call duties.
Undesirable effects of shift work may include disruption of the internal body clock; fatigue; sleeping difficulties; disturbed digestion; reliance on sedatives and/or stimulants and social and domestic problems.
Reducing the problems associated with shift work may also financially benefit the organisation by lowering sickness and absenteeism; decreasing lost-time incidents; improving work efficiency and product quality and reducing staff turnover.
Employers should identify individuals responsible for shift-working arrangements and assess how severe the risks are, identifying where improvements need to be made. Good practice guidelines should be applied.
Good practice guidelines for shift-work schedule design
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