A recent UBC study found that shiftworkers, especially female shiftworkers, face a higher risk of being hurt on the job than those who work “regular” 9 to 5 hours, The researchers found that while the overall rate of work injuries in Canada declined from 1996 to 2006, the rate of injuries to shiftworkers did not. Perhaps even more alarming is that night workers had almost twice the risk of being injured on the job than those who worked during the day. In 2006, 307,000 work-related injury claims associated with shiftwork represented more than $50.5 million in costs to Canada’s workers’ compensation system. One study indicated that shiftworkers represent 10% of the insured population but generate 17% of the health insurance costs.
Addressing The Risk:
Fatigue and sleep deprivation are the main reasons why there is an increased risk for shiftworkers. In order to reduce this risk of injury, education and strategies are needed around sleep and energy management.
Shiftworkers are a unique population requiring special consideration when designing wellness programs. In order for companies to reduce costs, it is important that shiftworkers participate in wellness initiatives. But, since many shiftworkers work when management and human resources are not always available, shiftworkers are often left out of wellness programming.
How Can You Reduce The Risk:
• Workshops and training sessions need to focus on healthy sleep strategies, sleep disrupters and personal and corporate energy management
• Programs need to be delivered at convenient times to the shiftworker.
• Formal Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) help reduce the risks of accidents and injuries
Beverly’s Comments – What does this mean for your wellness programming?
Shiftworkers are at greater risk for injury while on the job. It is in your company’s best interest to ensure that these workers stay as healthy as possible. Education is the key. Your wellness programming needs to include workshops and strategies around sleep, energy and healthy lifestyles and it needs to be delivered at times that are ‘normal’ for the shiftworker. Having them stay late or come in on their day off just adds to their fatigue.
What strategies have you found the most useful in reducing shiftworker injuries and health related issues?