Occupational health management in shift work

Today's episode is about the topic of shift work.

We would like to explain to you which dangers lurk there, what you as an employer or BGM representative should pay attention to and what you can do as an employee to remain permanently efficient.

According to a study, around 15.5 percent of 15-64 year-old employees in Germany worked in shifts in 2018.

Shift work is not only strenuous, but also detrimental to health!

Podcast episode: Occupational health management in shift work

Occupational health management in shift work

Shift work is particularly demanding for employees, because late shifts and night shifts have differences in the physiological work load. The objective strain increases for the same activity in the different shifts:

– In the early shift: 100 % – In the late shift: 113 % – In the night shift: 156 %

Where does this come from?

In shift work, we work against our "inner clock", the biological rhythm of the human body. For most biological and psychological processes in our body we follow a natural rhythm.

Many bodily functions have a cycle of about 24 hours. For example, blood prere, pulse, respiration, body temperature and digestion are linked to the internal clock. Daylight, for example, is responsible for the fact that the "inner clock" is based on the day-night rhythm. Humans are naturally diurnal. That is why we are daytime. Particularly efficient in the morning. During the night, all bodily functions shut down. Since the body is then programmed to rest, concentration and performance decrease. The result of the additional load in late-. Night shifts are increased error rates. The sinking of the Titanic, the Chernobyl super accident, the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster and the Costa Concordia accident – all four catastrophes occurred during the late and night shift!

Physical and psychological consequences of shift work

If we work permanently against our internal clock, the body is exposed to continuous stress, which poses health risks. Physical and psychological consequences can be:

– Sleep disorders – loss of appetite – stomach problems – inner restlessness and nervousness – tiredness and fatigue – type 2 diabetes – cardiovascular diseases – problems with digestion – lack of vitamin D (deficient exposure to sunlight – depression – eating disorders

The changed daily routines due to shift work also often have an impact on social and private life.

How can a operational health management in the shift operation look now?

So much for the basic information, because now it is important to use it accordingly and to transfer it to the company health management. So let's get to the tips and what you should consider both as an employer and as an employee:

1. Before you hire a new employee or take a job on a shift system, there is the question of suitability. People with pre-existing conditions listed above don't have it easy in shift work. Are your potential employees or. are you suitable for service in night shifts? If yes, this should still be checked regularly! 2. Occupational health and safety: When will this be checked in your company?? Ideally, you should check this for each shift individually, because the working conditions are not the same at all times of the day and night (e.g., if you are on early shift, you will have to work in the morning).B. Climate, brightness and lighting, etc.). 3. Health promotion measures such as further training, sports courses or lectures are often offered at common times (10 a.m. or 2 p.m. at the change of shifts), unfortunately this means that some employees on night shifts cannot take part at all because it does not fit into their daily schedules. Such appointments should also be individually adapted to the respective shift here. 4. Adjust break times (especially for employees with pre-existing conditions, z.B. Diabetes, or taking special medication). 5. The workplace design must be adapted to the requirements of the respective shift (adjust lighting conditions, at dusk or in rooms that are too dark, fatigue sets in faster and concentration decreases). 6. Eating the right, balanced diet can also help boost performance on late or night shifts. 7. Adapt your daily rhythm to the respective shift. If you go on early duty, you will come back from the night refreshed and rested, ready to get on with your tasks. Why not then to night duty? Try to dedicate your free time after night duty, then (pre-)sleep and start the next shift rested!? Workplace health management also plays a major role in shift operations. Has a positive impact on employee health. By applying some tips. Tricks should be feasible implementation. However, should there still be a hitch at one point or another, or if there are further questions, we are happy to help. On this page you can contact!

YouTube episode: Occupational health management in shift work

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