Health, Safety, Security and Environment

E-Books: Managing your shiftwork

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This book Managing your shiftwork has been produced to help people understand the nature of shiftwork and is designed to assist individuals in coping with this lifestyle. Everything in it has been extensively researched both inside and outside of the industry for shift workers and is based on the most up-to-date information available.

This guide has been produced for both shift workers and those who interact with shift workers’ family and work colleagues. It is to help inform them of how and why working shifts can affect their lives. On a basic level, for many shift workers, it is sometimes difficult to reconcile the needs of their working time arrangements with their domestic and social arrangements. At the outset, however, please note that it is not expected that you are experiencing, or will experience problems. This is not an encouragement to have difficulties with your shiftwork! In fact,
shiftwork can be a positive aspect of many people’s lives.
Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the extensive research and anecdotal evidence that shift and night work can have detrimental effects at some point in many people’s shift working careers and it would be neglectful to ignore this.
Shift working can negatively influence your behavior, health,, and wellbeing. Shift workers tend to get less sleep when compared to dayworkers, for a host of reasons, and not just when working nights. This lack of sleep can result in tiredness and fatigue, which in turn can affect a person’s performance at work, their social interactions at home, and also potentially their health.

By attempting to understand why we feel the way we do when working shifts, it is possible to develop (individual) coping strategies to alleviate the effects of shiftwork. Most of us are on shifts by our own free will, it’s our choice based on a balance between the pro’s (chosen career, more pay and time off during the week) and the con’s (tiredness, loss of social opportunities, etc.) Some people cope better than others, however, most could potentially cope better than they currently do.

The general aims of this booklet and are to provide:

  • An overview of the typical work schedule-related problems reported by shift workers and background information about why shiftwork can be problematic.
  • Advice about dealing with specific shiftwork-related difficulties, offering strategies that shift workers, in general, don’t have access to.
  • Additions to your knowledge to help improve managing your shiftwork life even if no specific problem is of concern at present.

All of this is to help you individualize your approach to improving how you deal with your shiftwork – to tailor your


The Contents of Managing your shiftwork book

  • Introduction – it’s a personal thing
  • Why it’s hard to work shifts – it’s a design thing!
  • Shiftwork effects
  • Shiftwork problems – what can be done
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Eating and drinking
  • Social and family life
  • You, your fitness
  • Health and Safety
  • Individualizing your coping

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