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Dangers Associated with Shift Work

Shift workers are exposed to a number of risks that can cause work injuries and illnesses.


All jobs come with some risks. For those who work on a construction site, there are risks of falls, and for people working in the catering industry there are burn risks. Even employees in office jobs face risks such as carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries.

It has also been found, that if you work shifts, you are at an increased risk of some health issues. Problems such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes are higher in shift workers. In this article we will discuss some of the most common risks associated with shift work.

Risks for Shift Workers

Studies have shown that the biggest problems with shift workers are a lack of sleep and a disturbance in the natural rhythms of sleep. Shift workers tend to only sleep for around four to six hours each day rather than the recommended eight to ten. This leaves shift workers feeling tired on waking and never quite feeling awake and refreshed. This has an adverse effect on health and can then lead to other issues such as obesity, hypertension and sleep apnea. A link has also been found between lack of sleep and breast and colon cancers.

Another problem with people who work night shifts is that they tend to get their rest during daylight hours, so they don’t get a lot of sunlight in their lives. This can lead to depression. Additionally, this can also result in the lack of social interaction as they have their free time when everyone else is busy at work. Parties and gatherings are planned for those times when the shift worker is at work.

The Professions that May Be Affected

Those who may be affected could be in any profession, but most commonly affected are:

  • late night restaurant workers
  • long distance truck drivers
  • night time security guards
  • firefighters
  • law enforcement agents
  • medical professionals

How to Combat Shift Worker Illnesses

This may be worrying for anyone who works shifts, but there are preventative measures that can be taken to prevent illness. It’s important for shift workers to try and get a minimum of eight hours sleep each day. Exercise and healthy eating can be a great benefit, and vitamin supplements may also be beneficial.

Finding time to get together with others can also really help combat depression. Other shift workers could be the key. They understand shift work and will appreciate that your ‘night out’ begins at 6am! Find other people who keep to the same schedule and you can have some company.

For anyone who has become ill due to working shifts, it’s important to know that you might be able to claim workers compensation. To find out if you are eligible to claim, contact an experienced St Louis work injury lawyer who will be able to determine whether or not you have a claim.

Law Office of James M. Hoffmann

For more than 20 years the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann has been helping injured workers in Missouri get the compensation benefits they need to move forward with their lives. Call us today at (314) 361-4333 or fill out our online contact form.


Updated: December 7, 2022