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Archive for January, 2020

What is Shift Work Disorder?

Working various shifts within a 24-hour period can be very difficult for an individual, especially when he or she is subjected to changing shift times every few days or every other week. Unfortunately, such frequent changes in work hours can lead to something known as “shift work disorder.”

Shift work disorder, which is also referred to as “shift work sleep disorder,” generally causes the worker to experience difficulty sleeping, tiredness, fatigue and excessive sleepiness during daytime hours. All of these issues can result in injuries and accidents in the workplace, as well as with absenteeism and mistakes in judgment while on the job.

Who Typically Works Varying Shifts?

There are a number of jobs and professions that require individuals to work various shifts throughout the day. Some of the more common jobs requiring shift work include:

  • Hospital workers (doctors, nurses and nurses assistants)
  • Food service workers (bartenders, cooks and waiters)
  • Firefighters and law enforcement officers
  • Retail cashiers
  • Public transportation workers
  • Airline crewmembers (pilots and flight attendants
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Heavy machinery/vehicle operators (truckers)

All of these jobs tend to involve extensive sleep disruption, which can ultimately lead to shift work sleep disorder.

What Types of Medical Issues Can Arise in Individuals Working Different Shifts?

Besides sleep disorders, shift workers can face a number of other types of medical issues. For example, there have been a number of studies done on cardiovascular diseases in relation to shift work, particularly with regard to blood pressure. The results showed that workers who frequently rotated shifts showed a greater variation in blood pressure during a 24-hour period. Additionally, it was noted that women with heart disease tended to have a worse prognosis than men, with an increased incidence of coronary artery disease in females who worked shifts for a period of six or more years.

Weight gain has also been an issue for many shift workers. A study that focused on a large set of factory workers over a 14-year period found that 43% of night shift workers had a 5% increase in their body mass index, while 25% had a 7.5% increase and 15% experienced a 10% increase when compared to day shift workers.

There have also been a number of studies that have considered the relationship between shift work disorders and cancer. The results of those found an increase in colorectal, prostate and endometrial cancers among shift workers in comparison to those who work normal work hours.

The University of California conducted a study on the relationship between shift work disorders and diabetes, finding that there was a “positive association” between years of rotating night shift work and diabetes. More specifically, the connection was related to excess body weight, and the study found that shift workers might also have a higher risk of smoking and developing Parkinson’s disease.

Were You Injured While Performing Shift Work? Contact Experienced Lancaster Hurt at Work Lawyers Today

Were you recently involved in an accident while performing shift work? You may be entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim.  We are here to help you with your claim and provide the comprehensive legal guidance that you need during this time. Contact us today to find out if you’re eligible.