It’s not easy to be at work during those hours when all of the elements are in place for a good night’s sleep. It’s no wonder night shift work is riskier than day shift—statistically about 30 percent more. And not surprisingly, it’s about 5 percent less productive. Fatigue, feelings of isolation and other factors can contribute to safety and production issues.
So, why do businesses insist on employing people to work in the middle of the night? Many industries need a night shift to function effectively. Think about hospital workers, law enforcement and all of those businesses with automated machinery that must be attended to around the clock. Over 18 percent of all industries engage a night shift. And while companies can do little to change their workers’ body clocks, they can take steps to enhance safety, improve morale and increase productivity.
The hazards of night shift:
- This is the biggest safety factor on the night shift. Night shift workers must cope with the natural fatigue caused by the circadian rhythm. Bodies slow down at night, which means alertness and metabolism are at a low point during critical working hours. Those operating sophisticated (and dangerous) machinery are at high risk for injury.
- There is almost no natural light on the night shift. Without it, there is a condition—Seasonal Affective Disorder—which carries with it the side effect of being tired. Another issue with darkness is improper lighting which can create several safety issues.
- With fewer workers in the plant, monitoring them can be challenging. Workers can be spread over a large area with some even working alone.
Help for the late night workers:
- Give them a break. Studies have shown when critical care nurses were allowed to nap during their breaks, they reported less fatigue and a noticeable increase in alertness. According to OSHA, research also indicates that shorter, more frequent breaks can reduce the risks of accidents.
- Shine a light on them. Good lighting and proper ventilation help shift workers adjust to their changing sleep patterns. It also helps create a safer work environment.
- Show them you care. If senior executives visit the night shift regularly, they can personally make company announcements, answer questions and offer encouragement. When an employee has met a significant goal or reached a milestone, the executive can present them with a gift at this time. Consider giving night employees the option of attending your company’s evening parties and other work-related evening events.
Taking these actions can mitigate the feelings of isolation many on the night shift experience, and they will contribute to the safety and happiness of these valuable workers.
Find the best talent for all shifts
Convincing today’s top candidates your company is their best choice is more critical than ever. A culture of encouragement, positive work environment and appreciation of a job well done will go a long way to setting you apart. Stride Staffing’s goal is to build stronger connections between employers and individuals by doing staffing differently. Really. Contact us today an request a consultation.