Employees, especially those in shift work are at increased risk of developing serious health problems when working irregular hours.
A recent report published in the British Medical Journal by a team of researchers from Canada and Norway suggests that shift workers are more prone to cardiac disorders and strokes than any other group. Analysing data from a number of previous studies involving shift workers, the researchers calculated incidences of coronary events, heart attacks and strokes across more than two million employees.
Key findings linked shift work to a 23% increase in the risk of a heart attack, a 24% rise in the risk of a coronary event and a 5% greater chance of a stroke.
Shift work patterns and extended working hours can also impact on fatigue, increasing the potential for workplace health and safety issues. Therefore, it is imperative for employers to ensure that their workers are given adequate time to rest between shifts so that the fatigue issue is addressed effectively.
Carefully planned rosters and work schedules can help minimise disruption to employees' body clocks caused by working outside normal waking hours and mitigate some of the health risks associated with shift work.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland advises organisations to consider the following factors when reviewing roster design:
- Length of shifts
- Distribution of leisure time
- Regularity of shift system
- Length of shifts worked
- Previous hours and days worked
- Type of work being performed
- Time of the day when the work is being performed
Key benefits of automated time and attendance systems:
- Assists organisations in implementing an effective fatigue management plan
- Managers can track and monitor employee data to analyse work hours, overtime hours and associated productivity levels
- Alerts notify supervisors when a particular employee is approaching their work hour limit
- Enables supervisors to adjust rosters and shifts accordingly for workers approaching work hour limits
- Automates compliance with current workplace legislation and organisation-specific work rules
- Provides assurance that employees are alert to perform their duties in a safe manner
- Automated reporting and complete audit trail ensure easy access to required information in the unfortunate event of an accident