Managing shiftwork. Health and safety guidance. HSE Books

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1 Health ad Safety Maagig shiftwork Health ad safety guidace This is a free-to-dowload, web-friedly versio of HSG256 (published 2006). This versio has bee adapted for olie use from HSE s curret prited versio. You ca buy the book at ad most good bookshops. ISBN Price 9.95 This book is for employers, safety represetatives, trade uio officials, employees, regulators ad other stakeholders. It explais employers legal duties to assess risks associated with shift work. It aims to improve uderstadig of shift work ad its impact o health ad safety by: providig advice o risk assessmet, desig of shift-work schedules ad the shift-work eviromet; suggestig measures employers, safety represetatives ad employees ca use to reduce the egative impact of shift work; ad reducig tiredess, poor performace ad accidets by eablig employers to cotrol, maage ad moitor the risks of shift work. HSE Books Page 1 of 45

2 Health ad Safety Crow copyright 2006 First published 2006 ISBN All rights reserved. No part of this publicatio may be reproduced, stored i a retrieval system, or trasmitted i ay form or by ay meas (electroic, mechaical, photocopyig, recordig or otherwise) without the prior writte permissio of the copyright ower. Applicatios for reproductio should be made i writig to: The Office of Public Sector Iformatio, Iformatio Policy Team, Kew, Richmod, Surrey TW9 4DU or This guidace is issued by the Health ad Safety. Followig the guidace is ot compulsory ad you are free to take other actio. But if you do follow the guidace you will ormally be doig eough to comply with the law. Health ad safety ispectors seek to secure compliace with the law ad may refer to this guidace as illustratig good practice. Page 2 of 45

3 Health ad Safety Cotets Itroductio 4 Backgroud 5 Duty uder law 5 What do we mea by shift work? 6 Shift workers i the UK 6 Assessig ad maagig the risks associated with shift work 7 Cosider the risks of shift work ad the beefits of effective maagemet 8 What are the udesirable effects of shift work? 8 Cosider the costs ad beefits of effective maagemet of shift-workig arragemets 12 Establish systems to maage the risks of shift work 13 Seek maagemet commitmet to cotrol the risks of shift work 13 Idetify idividuals resposible for shift-workig arragemets 13 Ivolve safety represetatives ad workers 13 Assess the risks associated with shift work i your workplace 14 Cosider the risks that workers may be exposed to 14 Establish who might be harmed by shift work 14 Cosult workers ad their safety represetatives 15 Take actio to reduce the risks 16 Assess how severe the risks are ad idetify where improvemets eed to be made 16 Improve the shift-work schedule 16 Improve the workplace eviromet 23 Apply good practice guidelies 28 Check ad review your shift-work arragemets regularly 31 Implemet a system for early reportig of problems associated with shift work 31 Moitor alteratios to shift-work schedules ad/or work coditios 31 Periodically review the effectiveess of your shift-workig arragemets 32 Appedix 1 Legal requiremets 33 Appedix 2 Strategies ad practical advice shift workers ca use to improve their health ad well-beig 35 Appedix 3 Assessmet tools ad techiques 38 Appedix 4 Further sources of iformatio ad help 39 Appedix 5 Refereces ad further readig 40 Maagig shift work Page 3 of 45

4 Health ad Safety Itroductio 1 This guidace aims to improve safety ad reduce ill health by: makig employers aware of their duty uder law to assess ay risks associated with shift work; improvig uderstadig of shift work ad its impact o health ad safety; providig advice o risk assessmet, desig of shift-work schedules ad the shift-work eviromet; suggestig measures employers, safety represetatives ad employees ca use to reduce the egative impact of shift work; reducig fatigue, poor performace, errors ad accidets by eablig employers to cotrol, maage ad moitor the risks of shift work. 2 The guidace is aimed at employers, safety represetatives, trade uio officials, employees, regulators ad other stakeholders. Maagig shift work Page 4 of 45

5 Health ad Safety Backgroud Duty uder law 3 The Workig Time Regulatios 1998 (as ameded) (WTR) lay dow the miimum legal requiremets o how to orgaise workig time. 1,2 Some workers i certai sectors, such as the aviatio idustry ad mobile workers i road ad sea trasport are curretly exempt from WTR ad are subject to specific legislatio that relates to workig time. The basic rights ad protectios that WTR provide are outlied i Appedix 1. 4 I additio to WTR, workers doig safety-critical work o the railways are also subject to the Railway ad Other Guided Trasport Systems (Safety) Regulatios ,4 These Regulatios iclude a duty to make arragemets to prevet serious cosequeces arisig from tired/fatigued employees ad so edager safety. 5 It is ot however sufficiet to rely o the above requiremets to esure that you meet your obligatios for health ad safety i regard to shift-workig arragemets (see Appedix 1). Whe you orgaise ad pla shift work, you must also comply with employers geeral duties uder the Health ad Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (the HSW Act) 5 ad the Maagemet of Health ad Safety at Work Regulatios 1999 (MHSWR). 6 Uder the HSW Act all employers, icludig the self employed, have a duty, so far as it is reasoably practicable, to protect the health, safety ad welfare at work of all their employees. They also have a duty, so far as is reasoably practicable, to esure that others are ot exposed to health ad safety risks through their udertakig. 6 Uder MHSWR, employers are required to make a assessmet of the risks to employees from work activities ad make a commitmet to itroduce measures that are reasoably practicable to remove or cotrol these risks. This icludes the umber of hours worked ad how these hours are scheduled. 7 Employees also have a duty to take reasoable care of their ow health ad safety ad that of other people, who may be affected by their activities at work. This duty implies that employees should take positive steps to uderstad the risk factors i their work, such as the causes of fatigue, comply with safety rules ad procedures ad make sure that othig they do or fail to do at work puts ayoe at risk. 8 Uder the Safety Represetatives ad Safety Committees Regulatios ad the Health ad Safety (Cosultatio with Employees) Regulatios 1996, 8,9 employers must cosult with employees o health ad safety matters. Cosultatio ivolves employers ot oly givig iformatio to employees but also listeig to ad takig accout of what employees say before they make ay health ad safety decisios. If a decisio ivolvig work equipmet, processes or orgaisatio could affect the health ad safety of employees, such as ay proposed chages to shiftworkig arragemets, the employer must allow time to give the employees (or their represetatives) iformatio about the proposals. The employer must also give the employees (or their represetatives) the chace to express their views. The the employer must take accout of these views before reachig a decisio. Maagig shift work Page 5 of 45

6 Health ad Safety What do we mea by shift work? 9 There is o specific defiitio of shift work i law, but it usually meas: a work activity scheduled outside stadard daytime hours, where there may be a hadover of duty from oe idividual or work group to aother; a patter of work where oe employee replaces aother o the same job withi a 24-hour period. 10,11 10 Stadard daytime hours are cosidered as: a work schedule ivolvig a activity durig the day, commoly for a period of eight hours betwee 7.00 am ad 7.00 pm. There are usually two periods of work, oe i the morig, the other i the afteroo, separated by a luch-time break. 11 I this guidace, all systems of work other tha stadard daytime hours are cosidered as shift work. Examples of shift work might be: work durig the afteroo, ight or weeked, typically with periods of the work schedule outside stadard daytime hours; exteded work periods of 12 hours or more, ofte associated with compressig the workig week; rotatig hours of work; split shifts, where work periods are divided ito two distict parts with several hours break i betwee; overtime; stadby/o-call duties. Shift workers i the UK 12 The umber of shift workers i the UK has gradually icreased over the last 25 years reachig a peak i 2000, whe aroud 15% of the workig populatio (approximately 3.8 millio people), worked shifts for most of the time. Sice the, umbers have stabilised, with aroud 14% of the workig populatio (3.6 millio people) ow doig shift work most of the time I the past, shift work was traditioally associated with idustries where 24-hour operatio was either ecessary (eg essetial public services like hospitals, the police, the fire brigade ad the utilities) or practical (eg the trasportatio, chemical, miig ad other process ad maufacturig idustries). The recet upward tred i the percetage of people employed i shift work reflects a adoptio of shift work beyod the traditioal sectors. 11 For example supermarkets, petrol statios ad call cetres ow commoly employ shift workers. 14 This tred has developed because of chages i society, supported by workers who are prepared to do shift work. There may be several reasos for this, such as the recet shift towards a 24-hour society, lack of employmet optios or a preferece for compesatory factors such as flexible workig, better pay or time off i lieu. Maagig shift work Page 6 of 45

7 Health ad Safety Assessig ad maagig the risks associated with shift work 15 The mai priciple of the HSW Act is that those who create risk from work activity are resposible for the protectio of workers ad the public from ay cosequeces. As shift work may affect the health ad safety of your employees ad the public, it is importat for you to cotrol risks effectively ad prevet harm to people. 16 The HSE publicatio, Successful health ad safety maagemet 13 describes a systematic approach to assessig ad maagig health ad safety risks. A approach based o this, that you might wish to use to maage shift-workig arragemets, is summarised i Figure This approach will allow you to assess ad better orgaise your shift-work schedules. You may also wish to cosult ay specific guidace or stadards of good practice that have bee developed for your particular idustry. Uder certai circumstaces, however, additioal exteral expertise may be required, for example whe: your orgaisatio has difficulty makig decisios; the plaig ad orgaisatio of the shift-work schedule is too complex; there are safety critical issues to cosider. Sources of further iformatio ad help ca be foud i Appedix 4. Cosider the risks of shift work ad the beefits of effective maagemet. Establish systems to maage the risks of shift work. Assess the risks associated with shift work i your workplace. Take actio to reduce these risks. Check ad review your shift-work arragemets regularly. What are the udesirable effects of shift work? Cosider the costs ad beefits of effective maagemet of shift-workig arragemets. Seek maagemet commitmet to cotrol the risks of shift work. Idetify idividuals resposible for shift-workig arragemets. Ivolve safety represetatives ad workers. Cosider the risks that workers may be exposed to. Establish who might be harmed by shift work. Cosult workers ad their safety represetatives. Assess how severe the risks are ad idetify where improvemets eed to be made. Improve the shift-work schedule. Improve the workplace eviromet. Apply good practice guidelies. Implemet a system for early reportig of problems associated with shift work. Moitor alteratios to shift-work schedules ad/or work coditios. Periodically review the effectiveess of your shiftworkig arragemets. Figure 1 A systematic approach to assessig ad maagig the risks associated with shift work Maagig shift work Page 7 of 45

8 Health ad Safety Cosider the risks of shift work ad the beefits of effective maagemet What are the udesirable effects of shift work? 18 Research has show that there ca be udesirable cosequeces for those workig shifts outside stadard daytime hours, particularly those coverig the ight or with early morig starts. 14,15 For example, shift work may result i: disruptio of the iteral body clock; fatigue; sleepig difficulties; disturbed appetite ad digestio; reliace o sedatives ad/or stimulats; social ad domestic problems, which i tur ca affect performace, icrease the likelihood of errors ad accidets at work ad might have a egative effect o health. Disruptio of the iteral body clock (circadia rhythms) 19 By ature, humas are active ad perform best durig the day ad eed to sleep at ight whe performace is geerally poorer. We follow this iate patter because of a iteral body clock, located i the brai which sets the daily cycle of biological activities, such as chemical ad hormoe release that ifluece body activity. For example, heart rate, blood pressure ad body temperature are icreased durig the day. At ight they are reduced ad we slow dow ad feel sleepy. This daily cycle is kow as the circadia rhythm ad explais why we eat ad sleep at similar times each day. 16 Exteral factors or cues such as daylight, meal times, clocks ad workig hours help to regulate this iteral body clock, ad play a importat role i keepig our bodies i step with the world aroud us. 20 Our iteral body clock ca chage gradually, but for most people it is resistat to the abrupt chages i the sleep/wake cycle that are required by shift-work schedules or flyig across time zoes. This ca cause our atural daily rhythms to become out of tue with those of the world aroud us. This is the reaso why we ca feel out of sorts ad less able to fuctio to the best of our ability whe we do ot get eough sleep. 21 The adjustmet of our iteral body clock to a abrupt chage i the sleep/ wake cycle may take days or weeks. It will start to adjust body fuctios after a few days of shift work, but at differet rates, so behaviours that rely o a regular cycle such as digestio, alertess ad sleep are disturbed. The adjustmet may be more successful i specialised work eviromets, such as submaries ad oil rigs, where the effects of exteral cues are miimised. However, our iteral body clock will ever fully adjust, eve for workers o permaet ight shifts. Those regular ight workers who chage back to daytime routies durig rest days will cotiue to suffer the cosequeces of a disrupted iteral clock, as it attempts to reset to daylight rhythms durig days off. Maagig shift work Page 8 of 45

9 Health ad Safety Sleep disturbace/loss 22 A cosesus view by scietists who study huma performace ad safety is that sleep is a powerful ad vital biological eed. Isufficiet ad disturbed sleep, chroic sleep loss ad beig awake for prologed periods, icreases the risk of errors ad accidets. 17,18 23 Day sleep is usually lighter ad shorter i duratio ad therefore less restorative tha ight sleep. 14 It is more ofte disturbed because of warmer temperatures ad daytime activity such as the phoe rigig, oisy childre or domestic resposibilities. While we ca rearrage some exteral cues, for example meal times, it is difficult to cotrol all ifluetial sleep/wake cues, particularly daylight. For example exposure to bright light at daw after a ight shift may make you less iclied to sleep. 24 People s adaptability meas that we ca, if we eed to, resist our iteral body clock ad fuctio for periods with either reduced sleep or eve o sleep at all. The cost of resistig this eed to sleep is kow as a sleep debt. The desire to recover this debt ca be very hard to resist, particularly whe exteral cues or our body s iteral body clock are drivig us to sleep. 25 Research reveals that whe we are sleep deprived ad/or fatigued, performace is affected ad errors are more likely. 19,20 This particularly applies to tasks that require: vigilace ad moitorig; decisio makig; awareess; fast reactio time; trackig ability; memory. Fatigue 26 Fatigue is the declie i metal ad/or physical performace that results from prologed exertio, lack of quality sleep or disruptio of the iteral body clock. 21 The degree to which a worker is proe to fatigue is also related to workload. For example, work that requires costat attetio, is machie paced, complex or mootoous will icrease the risk of fatigue A poor balace betwee the demads of work ad the time provided for rest ad recovery, resultig for example, from poorly desiged shift-work schedules ad log workig hours is likely to result i chroic fatigue. 28 Levels of fatigue are also affected by persoal factors such as home life or idividual characteristics. You will eed to be aware of these factors whe you carry out your risk assessmet, but you are ot expected to cotrol them. 29 The cosequeces of fatigue iclude reduced alertess, poor ad slow perceptio ad sleepiess. 19 Chroic fatigue has also bee associated with a umber of log-term health problems. 21 Errors, productivity ad accidets 30 For shift workig to be fiacially viable, you eed to maitai a satisfactory level of productivity ad safety. Fatigued shift workers may perform less well tha those workig stadard daytime hours, especially durig periods of low alertess. The cosequeces of this could rage from relatively mior evets to serious accidets. Take both eds of this spectrum ito accout whe you are assessig the costeffectiveess of shift workig as the social ad fiacial costs of frequet mior evets may equate over time to those associated with a rarely occurrig serious accidet. Maagig shift work Page 9 of 45

10 Health ad Safety 31 The risk of errors, accidets ad ijuries has bee foud: to be higher o the ight shift; to rise with icreasig shift legth over eight hours; to icrease over successive shifts, especially if they are ight shifts; to icrease whe there are ot eough breaks. 18,22 32 Poorly desiged work schedules causig fatigue-iduced impairmet of performace will icrease the risks. For example, a log ight shift without breaks after a successio of previous ight shifts will icrease the likelihood of errors, accidets ad ijuries. 33 It is importat ot to uderestimate the potetial risk for serious fatiguerelated errors ad accidets. Sleepiess is thought to be the cause of up to oe i five accidets o major roads i the UK, 23 cotributig sigificatly to the approximate 3000 road deaths recorded aually. 24 After youg me, shift workers are cosidered to be the category of drivers most at risk from accidets ad, compared to day workers, ight workers are more likely to be ivolved i accidets while drivig home from work Fatigue, ight work ad/or shift-workig arragemets have bee cited as major cotributory factors i umerous well-documeted accidets ad icidets icludig Three Mile Islad i 1979, Bhopal i 1984, Challeger Space Shuttle i 1986, Cherobyl i 1986, Clapham Juctio i 1988 ad Exxo Valdez i ,27 Health effects 35 As well as chroic fatigue, there is some evidece associatig log-term exposure to shift work ad the followig ill health effects: gastroitestial problems such as idigestio, abdomial pai, costipatio, chroic gastritis ad peptic ulcers; cardiovascular problems such as hypertesio, coroary heart disease; icreased susceptibility to mior illesses such as colds, flu ad gastroeteritis. 36 Reproductive problems i female shift workers have also bee reported. 32 While the associatio for reproductive effects is less strog, it would be wise to cosider shift work, especially ight shifts, as a potetial risk to reproductio. Research ito a possible lik betwee shift work ad breast cacer has bee icoclusive Shift work may also exacerbate existig health problems such as diabetes, asthma, epilepsy ad psychiatric illess. Moreover, the effectiveess ad potetial toxicity of some drugs may vary depedig o the time they are take as the doserespose patters of may drugs follow a circadia patter. 28,31 38 Shift workers, particularly those who work at ight, may be at risk of ill health because shift work ca disrupt our body clock (by iterferig with the productio of hormoes by the body), disturb sleep ad cause fatigue. I recogitio of the particular risks to ight workers, the WTR iclude a right for these workers to receive free health assessmets. 1,34 39 Idividual ad social factors may also cotribute to the risk of ill health effects Cosequetly, ot everyoe will experiece or have the same patter or degree of health problems. A idividual s attitude, behaviour, lifestyle, age, sex ad family history plus the coditios they work i, will all play a part. Maagig shift work Page 10 of 45

11 Health ad Safety Figure 2 The causes ad cosequeces of fatigue (after Folkard et al, 2003) 38 Maagig shift work Page 11 of 45

12 Health ad Safety Disruptio of family ad social life 40 A happy social ad domestic life is a importat foudatio for health ad wellbeig. The amout ad quality of time spet with family ad frieds ca, however, be affected by uusual patters of work. 14, 30 A worker who experieces a disrupted social or domestic life may feel isolated, moody or depressed, which ca affect their health ad performace at work. 41 A work schedule that clashes with domestic resposibility ca lead to a compromise betwee routies suited to work ad those suited to less coflict at home. Shift workers, especially those who are primary carers, may sped more time with their family or fulfillig their domestic duties at the cost of sleep. 39 This will result i fatigue ad its cosequet implicatios for health ad safety. Idividual susceptibility to the effects of shift work o health ad well-beig 42 Idividuals vary i their tolerace to shift work, because: some fid it easier to fall asleep, sleep for loger ad adapt more easily to chages i sleep patters; they may feel more alert at particular times of the day, eg some people could be described as ight owls, others as larks ; the ability to adapt to shift work decreases with age; they have differig degrees of health ad fitess; they use differet behaviours or copig strategies; they orgaise their domestic duties ad social activities i lie with their 35-37, 40 shifts. 43 While we caot chage our ibuilt characteristics or halt the ageig process, it is possible to adopt copig strategies, alter behaviour ad make lifestyle chages that improve sleep quality, icrease alertess ad reduce health risks. 41 See Appedix 2 for strategies ad practical advice shift workers ca use to improve their health ad well-beig. 42 Cosider the costs ad beefits of effective maagemet of shiftworkig arragemets 44 Implemetig a shift-work system or chagig curret shift-workig arragemets ca be a costly ad time-cosumig process. Workers may be resistat to chages i their workig arragemets. While some workers may beefit from the proposed chages, other workers may cosider themselves disadvataged. For this reaso, it is importat to cosult workers ad their safety represetatives ad gai their agreemet before makig ay chages to workig arragemets. 45 It is importat to recogise that a plaed ad systematic approach to assessig ad maagig the risks of shift work ca improve the health ad safety of workers. Reducig the problems associated with shift work may also fiacially beefit your busiess ad society i geeral by: lowerig sickess ad abseteeism; decreasig lost-time icidets; reducig the risk of fatigue-related accidets; reducig the likelihood of compesatio claims; icreasig work efficiecy; improvig product quality; reducig staff turover. Maagig shift work Page 12 of 45

13 Health ad Safety Establish systems to maage the risks of shift work Seek maagemet commitmet to cotrol the risks of shift work 46 Effective maagemet of the risks associated with shift work requires commitmet from seior maagemet. It is vitally importat to make sure seior maagemet (ie those who make the busiess decisios, allocate fuds ad create a drive for chage) are icluded i the developmet of, ad/or modificatio of, shiftworkig arragemets. 47 Developig clear policies ad procedures for maagig shift-workig arragemets esures that people throughout the orgaisatio, o matter how large or small, are aware that prevetig or limitig the risks of shift workig eeds to be cosidered at all levels of plaig. Idetify idividuals resposible for shift-workig arragemets 48 Depedig o the size of the orgaisatio, it may be appropriate to appoit oe or more idividuals to take resposibility for maagig the risks associated with shift work. Broadeig their kowledge about shift work ad their familiarisatio with appropriate health ad safety policy ad legislatio will help develop a positive eviromet for dealig with shift-workig arragemets. See Appedix 4 for sources of further iformatio ad help. Ivolve safety represetatives ad workers 49 By law, employers must cosult with employees o health ad safety matters. So it is critical to cosult ad ivolve the shift workers themselves i discussios about how the maagemet of shift work might affect health ad safety. Ivolvig a broad spectrum of the workforce i the decisio-makig process promotes a culture of opeess. This will make workers more likely to accept chages ad adopt a ew shift-work schedule or differet ways of workig. 50 Oe way to ivolve workers ad other stakeholders with a iterest i shift-work arragemets is to establish a workig group. This is a way of esurig that differet views ad opiios are discussed. For example, you might wish to iclude: workers; safety represetatives; a trade uio represetative; a supervisor or middle maager; a occupatioal health advisor; a health ad safety officer (if applicable); a seior maager. 51 Alteratively, you may use other ways of cosultig your employees or already have appropriate cosultatio procedures i place i your orgaisatio. Maagig shift work Page 13 of 45

14 Health ad Safety Assess the risks associated with shift work i your workplace Cosider the risks that workers may be exposed to 52 Employers should carry out a suitable ad sufficiet assessmet of the risks associated with shift work as part of your orgaisatio s health ad safety maagemet system. You should record ad review the risk assessmet periodically ad wheever chages to shift-workig arragemets are cosidered or made. 53 A risk assessmet requires a employer to cosider risk factors at work ad those who might be harmed by them. The risk assessmet should take full accout of the hazards associated with fatigue, ad the likelihood of fatigue occurrig because of shift workig. To do this you eed to gather ad evaluate iformatio about curret shift-work arragemets i your orgaisatio. You ca the use the risk assessmet to decide what you eed to do to reduce the risks. Establish who might be harmed by shift work 54 The risk factors summarised i the followig sectios are geeral ad apply to most shift-work schedules. There may, however, be other risk factors that oly apply to your idustry sector. So, it is importat to thik about ay additioal risk factors of shift-work desig i your orgaisatio. 55 For example, while all workers are potetially at risk from shift work, you should cosider certai groups who are more vulerable tha others. These iclude: youg workers; older workers; ew ad expectat mothers; workers with pre-existig health coditios, which may be made worse by shift work, such as those with gastro-itestial problems, coroary heart disease ad sleepig problems; workers takig time-depedet medicatio such as isuli; temporary ad other workers, such as sub-cotractors ad maiteace workers, who may ot be familiar with or be able to adhere to curret shift work schedules, or who have bee o a differet schedule with a previous employer; workers, who followig a stadard day s work, have remaied o call through the subsequet ight or weeked You should also cosider members of the public i your risk assessmet, as there may be a risk they could be harmed as a result of accidets ad catastrophes i which poor shift-work arragemets are a cotributig factor. 57 To assess the risks, you will eed to gather data about the shift-work arragemets i your orgaisatio ad use it to idetify areas where you ca make improvemets, if ecessary. Resposibility for decidig how to gather data should be made durig your preparatio ad ideally agreed by those i your orgaisatio who have a iterest i shift-work arragemets. You will also eed to assess how severe ay risk factors are, record your fidigs ad recogise that where there are several risk factors, the likelihood of fatigue-related problems will be icreased. Maagig shift work Page 14 of 45

15 Health ad Safety 58 Idetifyig issues associated with shift work ca be difficult because there are may cotributory factors that may affect your employees. So, it is advisable, to use a variety of iformatio-gatherig techiques to try to idetify ay commo treds or patters. For example, examiig ill health, accidet, absece, productivity ad overtime records, direct observatio of shift workers ad usig assessmet tools ad techiques (see Appedix 3) may be valuable. Commo patters, such as a icreased accidet rate or reduced productio quality/quatity at certai times of day or over certai periods, may be symptoms of fatigue ad poor shift-work desig, but also cosider other factors such as work load ad work activity. Cosult workers ad their safety represetatives 59 It is very importat to cosult the shift workers ad their safety represetatives i the risk assessmet process, as they have a clear iterest i the matter ad a direct kowledge of the advatages ad disadvatages of existig work patters. Keep records of ay iterviews or discussios for future referece. 60 Employig a umber of differet aids ad techiques ca stimulate discussio ad help plaig. For example, you could: ecourage workers to share their experieces of shift work; discuss which shifts are hardest ad why; use assessmet tools ad techiques to highlight potetial problems ad compare differet shift schedules (see Appedix 3); provide examples of differet shift-work schedules; ivite spotaeous cotributio of ideas. 61 You will eed to hadle ay detailed risk assessmet sesitively. Employees have a duty to help you to gather iformatio ad help with the assessmet of risks associated with work. But, they also have rights to privacy ad caot be forced to co-operate i aswerig questioaires or takig part i surveys. Eve if your itetios are good, employees may ot see it that way. The best policy is to explai what you are doig ad your reasos for doig it. This is why ivolvig workers ad their safety represetatives from a early stage is vital for a successful outcome. Maagig shift work Page 15 of 45

16 Health ad Safety Take actio to reduce the risks Assess how severe the risks are ad idetify where improvemets eed to be made 62 Tables 1-10 outlie how differet elemets of your shift-work schedule ad/ or workplace eviromet might cotribute to fatigue ad other shift work-related problems. They also offer advice o how to cotrol risks. Tables summarise the curret advice o cotrollig risks from shift work i the form of good practice guidelies. 63 Havig idetified the shift-work risk factors i your orgaisatio, you the eed to cosider ad prioritise where to make improvemets. If you idetify a umber of issues, cosider if it would be best to desig a ew schedule. 64 You may fid it useful to use assessmet tools such as HSE s Fatigue ad Risk Idex Tool, to idetify whether ay particular aspect of a existig or proposed workig time patter is likely to icrease the risk of fatigue. See Appedix 3 for further details about the Fatigue ad Risk Idex Tool ad other tools ad techiques for assessig the risks associated with shift work. 65 To balace the health ad safety eeds of the workers ad the demads of the orgaisatio, apply the good practice guidelies whe desigig or modifyig shiftworkig arragemets, where appropriate ad where reasoably practicable. Improve the shift-work schedule 66 There are may differet shift-work schedules ad each schedule has differet features. This sheer diversity of work ad workplaces mea that there is o sigle optimal shift system that suits everyoe. Tables 1-7 summarise curret kowledge ad opiio o the various factors that cotribute to the desig of shift-work schedules ad provide practical advice for reducig the risks of shift work. 67 Where relevat, iformatio relatig to the legal requiremets of WTR is also icluded i the tables. However, complyig with WTR may ot i itself be eough to prevet fatigue ad it is ot eough to rely solely o these requiremets to make sure you meet your obligatios regardig health ad safety i shift work. 68 Cosideratio of the factors that cotribute to the desig of shift-work schedules ad addressig their associated risks will help you to reduce the risks that your employees are exposed to by shift work. Maagig shift work Page 16 of 45

17 Health ad Safety Table 1 Workload Workload Commets Advice Metal ad physical demads Workers with a appropriate workload will be more efficiet, effective ad less fatigued tha those who are overburdeed or have too little to do. Cocetratio ad productivity ted to declie towards the ed of the shifts, followig luch ad durig the ight ad early hours of the morig. Whe plaig work, pla a appropriate workload, accordig to the legth ad the timig of the shift. If practical, schedule demadig work for periods whe workers are most alert ad least likely to be fatigued. Where possible, demadig, dagerous ad/or safety-critical work should be avoided durig the ight ad early hours of the morig ad towards the ed of log shifts. Whe work is particularly demadig, cosider shorteig the legth of the shift. Table 2 Work activity Work activity Commets Advice Work Activity Variatio i work activity across a shift ca help to relieve fatigue, especially where the worker has a rage of tasks to complete, each with differig metal ad physical demads. Rotatig routie sedetary metal tasks with physical tasks ca promote alertess or coversely help to relieve physical fatigue. Where possible, schedule a variety of tasks ito the shift pla ad if practicable, allow workers some choice regardig their order of completio. Maagig shift work Page 17 of 45

18 Health ad Safety Table 3 Shift patter Shift patter Commets Advice Permaet shifts Regular shifts allow a worker to adjust to a shift schedule to a certai degree, although ay adjustmet of the iteral body clock will be lost durig rest days if they revert to a ormal diural cycle. Permaet ight workers ad early morig workers ru the risk of chroic sleep debt, fatigue, ill health ad disruptio of family ad social life. Regular shifts allow workers to pla domestic ad social activities. They are appealig to some workers but others may prefer the flexibility of rotatig shifts. Ca create strog healthy bods withi shift teams, but may also ecourage less healthy attitudes or behaviours to develop, which could lead to a team makig bad or irratioal decisios. There may be poor commuicatio due to limited cotact betwee differet shift teams. Permaet ight shifts should be avoided where possible, although some workers ad supervisors may fid them desirable. Esure staff, especially those who work permaet ight shifts or early morig shifts are aware of the risks, through provisio of traiig ad iformatio. If reasoably practicable, offer workers the choice betwee permaet ad rotatig shifts. Esure there is eough supervisio of shifts to facilitate commuicatio betwee workers ad promote appropriate behaviour ad ratioal decisio makig. Improve commuicatio at shift hadover to esure that ew shift teams are fully aware of issues that have arise durig the previous shift. Rotatig shifts Rotatig shift schedules reduce the umber of ights a idividual has to work, as ight work is shared betwee all workers. However, the costatly chagig shift patter meas that workers may have difficulty adaptig to the schedule. The directio ad speed of rotatio ca ifluece how a idividual adapts to rotatig shifts. Forward versus backward rotatio There is limited evidece that the iteral body clock adapts more quickly to forward-rotatig schedules, eg those where the worker progresses from morig to afteroo to ight shifts i a clockwise directio. Chages from a early shift to a later shift may result i reduced rest time compared to a backwardrotatig schedule. Adoptig forward-rotatig schedules rather tha backwardrotatig, may help reduce sleep loss ad fatigue. Esure there is adequate rest time betwee shifts. Uder the WTR, the miimum time allowed betwee shifts is 11 hours. Maagig shift work Page 18 of 45

19 Health ad Safety Table 3 Shift patter (cotiued) Shift rotatio Commets Advice Fast rotatio versus slow rotatio Fast rotatio of shifts miimises disruptio of the iteral body clock ad there is little to o adaptatio to ight shifts/early morig starts. Cosequetly directio of rotatio may be less relevat for rapidly rotatig shift schedules tha for slowly rotatig where there is some adjustmet of the iteral body clock. Rotatig shifts every 2-3 days is recommeded, as the iteral body clock does ot adapt ad sleep loss ca be quickly recovered, reducig the risk of fatigue ad ill health. Weekly/fortightly rotatig shifts are the most disruptive schedule as the iteral body clock starts to adapt ad the has to reset itself as the shift chages. Weekly/fortightly rotatig shift schedules are ot recommeded. Avoid these where possible. Slow rotatio of shifts maximises adaptatio of the iteral body clock, although there is a risk of sleep loss ad fatigue. Ay adjustmet of the iteral body clock to ights/early starts will be lost durig rest days. If fast rotatio is ot possible, the slowly rotatig shifts over at least a 3-week period is the ext best optio. Table 4 Shift timig Shift timig Commets Advice Night shifts Night shifts disrupt the iteral body clock ad ight workers are likely to suffer from sleep loss, poor quality sleep ad fatigue, which may cause ill health. Fatigue may also icrease the risk of errors ad accidets, especially durig the ight, whe people are less alert. Physically ad/or metally demadig or mootoous work will icrease the risk of fatigue. Night work icreases the risk of ill health ad disrupts family ad social life. Workig at ight may limit access to traiig, developmet ad workplace facilities such as staff restaurats, first aid ad occupatioal health services. Oly a limited umber of workers ca successfully adapt to ight work. Try to fid alteratives to ight work for those workers who caot adapt. Where possible, permaet ight shifts should be avoided. Cosider the type of work beig doe ad the workload. Where possible, avoid demadig, mootoous, dagerous ad/or safety-critical work durig the ight ad early hours of the morig. Provide traiig ad iformatio about the risks of shift work for workers ad their families. Make staff aware of sources of iformatio ad support, such as child care ad cousellig services. Uder the WTR, ight workers have a right to receive free health assessmets. Where reasoably practicable, provide similar facilities ad opportuities for ight workers as those available for your daytime workers. Maagig shift work Page 19 of 45

20 Health ad Safety Table 4 Shift timig (cotiued) Shift timig Commets Advice Early morig starts Afteroo starts Although less disruptive tha ight work, early morig starts ca also reduce sleep ad icrease the risk of fatigue ad ill health. Commutig times ad availability of public trasport may cotribute to the fatigue related to early starts. Ability to sleep may be low i the early eveig whe the mid is alert ad family ad social commitmets are competig. Loss of sleep may result i fatigue. Risk of fatigue, ill health ad accidets is lower tha that from ight as there is less disruptio to the iteral body clock. Performace does ot appear to suffer uduly i compariso with day shifts. Where early morig starts are ot essetial for busiess eeds, avoid shift starts before am. Cosider if providig trasport to ad from the workplace would be beeficial. Provide traiig ad iformatio about the risks of shift work for workers ad their families. Make staff aware of sources of iformatio ad support, such as child care ad cousellig services. Afteroo shifts are suitable for most workers ad where practicable, you should adopt them i preferece to ight or early morig shifts. Daytime shifts Table 5 Shift duratio Workers who start work i the afteroo ofte sleep more tha workers o other shift types. Afteroo starts ca however reduce family ad social cotact. Preferred shift because it does ot disrupt the iteral body clock. Provide traiig ad iformatio about the risks of shift work for workers ad their families. Make staff aware of sources of iformatio ad support such as child care ad cousellig services. Where practicable, adopt day shifts rather tha ight or early morig shifts. Shift duratio Commets Advice 8-hour shifts 12-hour shifts 8-hour shifts are cosidered to be the optimum legth for sustaied ad cosistet work. They allow more time for rest ad completio of daily activities, but are geerally less popular as there are fewer work-free days per week tha with12-hour shifts. 12-hour shifts are popular as they make the workig week shorter ad may offer some advatages over 8-hour shifts i terms of sleep, health ad well-beig. The perceived social beefits ca lead to workforces tedig to choose such shift legths ad patters. However, workers have a limited metal ad physical resource, which is depedet o their curret state of fatigue ad the type ad duratio of the job they are doig. Fatigue, especially towards the ed of a log shift or durig the ight may reduce productivity ad icrease the risk of accidets. There are few differeces i the effects of 8-hour ad 12-hour shifts o workers ad there are o clear advatages to either system. However, the ature of the work eeds to be cosidered. 8-hour shifts are preferable whe work is mootoous, demads cocetratio or vigilace, is isolated, is safety critical ad/or there is exposure to work-related physical or chemical hazards. Avoid shifts that are loger tha 8 hours, where work is demadig, safety critical or mootoous ad/or there is exposure to work-related physical or chemical hazards. Ecourage ad promote the beefit of frequet ad regular breaks to reduce the risk of fatigue. Allow adequate recovery time betwee shifts ad bear i mid that commutig times ad availability of public trasport may cotribute to the fatigue related to log shifts. Limit 12-hour ight shifts to 2-3 cosecutive ights. Maagig shift work Page 20 of 45

21 Health ad Safety Table 5 Shift duratio (cotiued) Shift duratio Commets Advice 12-hour shifts Shifts loger tha 12 hours Variable shift legths Loger shifts may icrease the risk of fatigue ad ill health i vulerable groups such as older workers ad ew ad expectat mothers. Ay advatages of 12-hour shifts i terms of health ad well-beig are likely to be lost if workers take o overtime or secod jobs durig their free time. As fewer shift teams are required for a 12-hour tha for a 8-hour shift schedule it may be more difficult to arrage cover for illess, holidays, traiig ad overtime. Alertess ad performace ca sigificatly deteriorate over log shifts, which may icrease the risk of errors ad accidets. Variable shift legths ca give some of the free time beefits of loger workdays ad may be less fatiguig. They are provig a icreasigly popular compromise to the 8-hour vs 12-hour debate. Cosider the eeds of vulerable workers: arrage for these workers to do shorter shifts if ecessary. Shifts should ot be plaed to be loger tha 12 hours. Avoid overru ad discourage overtime. Moitor ad cotrol shift swappig. Make adequate arragemets to cover absetees. Discourage workers from takig secod jobs. If this is a particular problem you could set this as a coditio of employmet i cotracts of work. Make adequate arragemets to cover absetees. Some compaies iclude a extra shift i their rosters (usually days) to allow flexibility ad time for traiig, developmet etc. Moitor ad cotrol shift swappig. Avoid shifts that are loger tha 12 hours i legth. Avoid overru ad discourage overtime. Moitor ad cotrol shift swappig. Make adequate arragemets to cover absetees. Discourage workers from takig secod jobs. Cosider if shifts of variable duratio ad/or flexible start ad ed times could offer a suitable compromise for your orgaisatio. Bear i mid that schedule desig will be more complex ad require more plaig ad orgaisatio. Split shifts Split shifts, where a idividual s daily work is divided ito two or more shifts, are upopular as they legthe the workig day. The risk of fatigue is icreased if there is too short a break betwee shifts to warrat a retur home. If reasoably practicable, avoid split shifts, as they do ot allow eough recovery time betwee shifts. If split shifts are ecessary, esure that suitable o-site caterig ad rest facilities are available. Early starts coupled with late fiishes ca result i fatigue, ill health ad disruptio of family ad social life. Esure workers are aware of the risks of shift work, through provisio of traiig ad iformatio. Maagig shift work Page 21 of 45

22 Health ad Safety Table 6 Rest breaks withi shifts Rest breaks withi shifts Commets Advice The risk of fatigue-related problems is higher towards the ed of a shift ad also durig the ight. Frequet short breaks ca reduce fatigue, improve productivity ad may reduce the risk of errors ad accidets, especially whe the work is demadig or mootoous. Depedig o the ature of the work, allowig workers some choice about how log ad how ofte their breaks are may reduce fatigue ad icrease productivity. For example, a worker may beefit from more frequet breaks towards the ed of a shift as fatigue sets i. Whe work is machie-paced rather tha self-paced, itroductio of frequet pre-plaed rest breaks may icrease productivity ad reduce fatigue. A short period of sleep of aroud 20 miutes has bee advocated by some as a way of copig with fatigue, especially o log shifts ad o ight shifts. However, if workers sleep for loger periods tha this they may wake up feelig urefreshed ad less alert. This may decrease productivity ad icrease the risk of errors ad accidets. Whe they wake up, workers may experiece a short period (up to 15 miutes) of impaired alertess. A break take away from the work statio ad/or work eviromet is cosidered to be more beeficial tha those take at the workstatio. Ecourage ad promote the beefit of frequet ad regular breaks to reduce the risk of fatigue. Uder the WTR, workers are etitled to a 20-miute rest break if the workig day is loger tha six hours. But cosider the legth of the shift ad the workload whe plaig the amout ad legth of breaks. A short break of 5-15 miutes every 1-2 hours may help maitai performace ad reduce accidets, particularly whe the work is demadig or mootoous. If practicable, workers should be allowed some discretio over whe they take a break from work. Ideally, workers should be allowed to rest before they experiece fatigue. However, workers may ot always act as the best judge of whe a break is eeded ad should be strogly discouraged from savig up their rest time i order to leave earlier. Where the pace is out of the worker s cotrol (eg machie/ system paced), schedule frequet rest breaks i the shift pla. Nappig should be well supervised ad oly be used as a strategy i orgaisatios where there is a high risk of ivolutary sleepig, such as drivig ad ight-time vigilace tasks. Do ot adopt it i work eviromets where importat decisios, especially safety-critical decisios, could be clouded by sleepiess. If appig is adopted, appropriate facilities should be provided with scheduled breaks of aroud 40 miutes to allow workers sufficiet time to have a short ap, refresh themselves ad regai alertess before resumig work. Make facilities available ad ecourage workers to take their loger breaks away from their workstatio. Maagig shift work Page 22 of 45

23 Health ad Safety Table 7 Rest breaks betwee shifts Rest breaks betwee shifts Commets Advice Rest periods betwee cosecutive shifts Rest days The risk of fatigue-related problems icludig ill health, errors ad accidets icreases whe the break betwee the ed of oe shift ad the start of the ext shift is too short. Too may cosecutive work days ca lead to a accumulatio of fatigue ad icrease the risk of fatigue-related problems icludig ill health, errors ad accidets. Sleep loss ad fatigue ca also build up if there are too may successive ight shifts ad/or early morig starts. The optimal umber of successive workdays is uclear, as it depeds o a umber of factors icludig the shift patter, the workload ad the workplace eviromet. If there are a large umber of rest days betwee successive shift schedules, lack of commuicatio betwee workers ad loss of familiarity with the work may icrease the risk of errors ad/or accidets. Rest days are best whe they allow the worker to recover from a work schedule, take part i social ad domestic activities ad if required, eable them to adjust to a ew work schedule. Havig free weekeds is traditioally importat to workers for social ad domestic activities. Workers eed sufficiet time betwee shifts to commute, eat meals, sleep ad participate i domestic ad social activities. Uder WTR, the miimum time allowed betwee shifts is 11 hours. I geeral, a limit of 5-7 cosecutive workig days should be set for stadard (ie 7-8 hour) shifts. Where shifts are loger tha this, for ight shifts ad for shifts with early morig starts it may be better to set a limit of 2-3 cosecutive shifts, followed by 2-3 rest days to allow workers to recover. Cosider if regular refresher traiig i complex procedures ad time allowed for refamiliarisatio/ updatig would help whe there are exteded rest periods (icludig holidays) betwee successive shifts. Uder WTR, workers are etitled to a 24-hour day off per week, although days off may be averaged over a fortight. Whe switchig from day to ight shifts or vice versa, make provisio to allow workers a miimum of 2 ights of full sleep to eable them to adjust to the ew schedule. Where possible, regular weeked breaks should be built ito the shift schedule. Improve the workplace eviromet 69 Poor workig coditios add to the risks of shift work ad it is importat to idetify where improvemets ca be made. I may cases, chages to the workplace eviromet may be reasoably straightforward ad easily itroduced. However, it is importat whe you cosider ay alteratios to cosult ad ivolve your employees ad their safety represetatives i the process. 70 Tables 8-10 outlie how factors i the workplace eviromet may icrease the risks associated with shift work ad offer advice o how to make improvemets to reduce these risks. Maagig shift work Page 23 of 45

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