Could Night Workers Have A Higher Likelihood Of Claiming Industrial Accident Compensation?

It is no secret that fatigue can lead to accident at work compensation claims. People who are tired can feel confused and make simple mistakes, which can have serious consequences. Employers with staff on the night shift should consider the additional risks that night and evening shifts pose to worker safety and put systems in place to make this work safer.

A study in the January 2013 edition of Occupational & Environmental Medicine and conducted by the Institute for Work and Health (IWH) investigated the labour market in Ontario, and found the risk of work-related illness and injury is notably higher among people who work the evening, night and early morning shifts, with the higher risk seen among all different kinds of workers. In fact, 12.5% of all lost-time accident at work compensation claims and industrial illness claims made by women and 5.8% of those made by men can be attributed to this higher risk.

Night time working hours also increased the risk of injury for workers in all age groups, although people aged 15 to 34 saw a less marked increase in risk than those aged between 35 and 64.

Lead researcher and IWH president Dr Cam Mustard suggested there could be two factors causing the elevated risk for night-shift workers - an increased level of fatigue due to disturbed sleep or long working hours, and a lower level of co-worker support and supervision than seen among daytime workers.

The dangers of night time work

Research from Monash University, Henry Ford Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School and published in the journal Sleep resulted in the development of a screening tool that could prevent workplace accidents caused by shift work.

People who work overnight are at a higher risk of developing cancer, diabetes, depression and other mood disorders, gastrointestinal disease and cardiovascular disease, and are also more likely to make industrial accident compensation claims. They have a higher risk of making quality control errors, being involved in road traffic accident claims and experiencing actual and near-miss injuries.

The researchers discovered that people with a condition called Sleep Work Disorder (SWD) are at particular risk of suffering from these problems, and the screening questionnaire should help employers identify these individuals.
In the UK, at least 15% of workers are expected to work outside normal working hours, and around 10% of these are thought to have SWD. This condition is characterised by extreme insomnia or sleepiness.

The researchers said the SWD questionnaire could help employers identify the employees who are most at risk of workplace injuries and accident at work compensation claims caused by shift work and to target interventions accordingly. Shift-work is no longer an unknown risk and is manageable. The immediate future may see innovations and techniques that can address the dangers and support people with SWD.

While night work is unavoidable in many industries nowadays, the health risks of this kind of work are clear and apparent, and employers have a duty to consider these risks carefully to protect their workforce.

Hellen Greek loves driving her Toyota Avensis around the country lanes in Lancashire and seeing the beautiful sights of the county. She also looks into personal injury Solicitors Preston advance payment and Divorce solicitors Burnley for a team of car accident solicitors, which makes her a keen advocate of safe driving and improvements to the UK's roads.

Geek, H. 2013, Could Night Workers Have A Higher Likelihood Of Claiming Industrial Accident Compensation?.

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