Human Factors & ergonomics- effects of night work and shift work

Essay by misshellkittyA, April 2004

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The human body and mind are meant to sleep at night and be active during day light . Some workers can adapt to working continually during the but among these certain health disorders are prominent (Kroemer & Grandjean, 1997). Despite this fact high numbers of people are being asked to work at night. The body may acclimatize if one works by night and sleeps by day regularly and consistently. However for many, night work is an irregular part of their timetable: night work and day work alternating irregularly. This is where the problems arise. This essay will look briefly at why night work has become such a large and busy area within industry and employment. It will also cover the organization of shifts, the effects of the body's circadian rhythms the health difficulties associated with night work, human error, error management and social, domestic, physical strategies for coping with night work.

The scheduling of hours of work is undoubtedly one of the major social problems of industrial society. Statistic estimates that 30% of Canada's workforce are involved in some kinds of shiftwork. Of those, 33% work irregular shifts, just under 30% work rotating shifts, 17% work long term evening shifts, 10% work on call, 3% work split shifts, 3% work long term night shifts and just over 3% are classed as other. Present estimates tell us

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that before the trend slows, fully 35% of the workforce will work some type of shiftwork (Siroonian 1993). Companies are feeling the need to maximize their efficiency by spreading their operating costs over 24 hours.

Increased demands in productivity and changes in lifestyle over the past fifty years or so have led to more and more people seeking out work at night. A huge factor behind...