Are your night shift workers safe?
Businesses that have employees working different shifts can provide a challenge for HR managers. With staff coming and going at different times of the day and night, it can be difficult to keep track of everyone.
Despite this, it’s important to acknowledge that night shift staff often require unique training and attention to ensure that they are keeping rested and healthy. As a new study has revealed, these workers can fall foul of things that daytime workers don’t encounter.
Sleepiness or insomnia?
While it’s natural for employees to appear sleepy or tired at the beginning and ends of shifts, sometimes this can signal more than just a late night or long day.
Researchers from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that some night shift workers who appear to just be tired are exhibiting signs of insomnia. This has a dramatic effect on cognitive ability, which consequently impacts on productivity and safety in the workplace.
An important consideration needs to be made regarding the different types of insomnia. The two main types, while reflecting the same thing, can have entirely different symptoms.
Sleepy insomniacs reflect the type we all know and can identify, with the subject outwardly displaying signs of tiredness that draw attention. On the other hand, alert insomniacs can fly under the radar, with their awake appearance failing to indicate that something is wrong.
The researchers recommend that rigorous testing is carried out on these workers to ensure they are operating safely and effectively.
“Our findings are important to everyone who is dealing with night shift work,” said Principal Investigator Valentina Gumenyuk.
“Our study reaffirms that insomnia within shift work disorder demands clinical attention, and it suggests that treatments focusing on the relief of excessive sleepiness in shift work disorder may not sufficiently improve work-related outcomes.”