The risk of injuries is significantly higher among people who work at night, as compared with people who work during daytime hours. This discrepancy exists even after accounting for other factors that could impact the differing rates of injuries. There are many unique challenges associated with preventing injuries among people who work overnight shifts, but employers need to make sure they take on the challenge and do everything possible to help keep workers safe no matter what time of day they perform work.
An experienced workers' compensation lawyer knows a work injury claim can be made even if an employee's fatigue contributed to causing an injury, and even if an employer followed all safety precautions. In an effort to keep staff safe and healthy and to reduce insurance costs associated with high numbers of work injury claims, employers should try to go the extra mile to ensure they are doing everything possible to help nighttime workers avoid harm.
Night Shift Workers Face Added Risks of Injuries- But Employers Can Help Them Stay Safe
Institute for Work & Health took a close look at injury rates for day shift workers, night shift workers, and workers on rotating shifts. Day shift workers experienced fewer injuries than counterparts in similar positions at night, and the added risk to night shift workers was significant. Women who work at night, especially, were endangered by their work hours. The risk of injuries to a woman working the night shift was between two and three times greater than a woman working during the day.
Violence is one possible reason why night shift workers may be at greater risk of getting hurt. This is especially true in retail positions, but it can be true in any field. People who are working at night are more likely to be working alone, and are more likely to be vulnerable to the threat of attacks. Employers don't have to guarantee an employee's safety under all circumstances, but employers are expected to take reasonable precautions and provide appropriate security, based on an assessment of risks, to maximize the chances an employee will stay safe on the job.
Violence is just one factor explaining why night shift workers may be at greater risk of sustaining workplace injuries. Fatigue is a very real issue among people who work third shift, because people generally tend to be groggier and less alert at night even if they sleep during the day. Safety News Alert published information on ways in which employers can help employees to fight fatigue when working at night.
One recent study showed one of the best and most effective ways to help night shift workers stay alert was for the workers to consume caffeine. Caffeine consumption was actually found to be better for increasing alertness and maintaining alertness than either prescription medication or the use of light therapy. Employers could make a big difference in keeping third shift workers safe by ensuring there is ample caffeine available and time to consume it.