Shifting the Safety Balance for Overnight Workers

December 3, 2012
Science Daily/Monash University
An international team of sleep researchers has developed the world's first screening tool to help reduce workplace accidents and illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and cancer, caused by shift work.

At least 15 per cent of workers in Australia, the US, and the United Kingdom, and around 23 per cent of workers in Japan are estimated to work outside normal hours, causing significant disruption to their natural sleep-wake schedules. SWD, characterized by extreme sleepiness and/or insomnia, is thought to affect around 10 per cent of shift workers.

"Aside from associated health problems, shift workers are significantly more at risk of workplace injuries. The workers most affected by sleep disruption -- those with SWD -- account for a significant proportion of this risk and need to be identified."

Shift work, especially overnight, is associated with a higher rate of car crashes, industrial accidents, actual and near-miss injuries and quality-control errors on the job. Secondary health problems linked with shift work include cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases and mood disorders, including depression.
Science Daily/SOURCE :http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121203093802.htm

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