Very widespread in the private security professions, night work and shift work are risk factors for agents’ health. However, the effects on workers can be limited by the implementation of preventive actions. Some keys.
“Night work” and “shift work”: what do we mean by that?
Basic principle of the labor code: the employer is responsible for the safety of his employees and must do everything possible to avoid risks, be they physical or psychosocial.
Night work and shift work are part of so-called “atypical” hours, that is, working time arrangements that are not “standard”. Because of their specificities, they can be risk factors for workers’ health.
The so-called “standard” hours correspond to 5 regular days per week from Monday to Friday, with schedules between 5 am and 11 pm and 2 days of weekly rest.
–> In France, 2/3 of workers would be affected by work in atypical hours.
We talk about night work when it is done between 9 pm and 6 am. We talk about shift work when teams take turns for 24 hours at the same workstations according to a predefined turnover (typical case of 3x8h).
What impacts on health?
For night workers or shiftworkers, irregular exposure to daylight desynchronizes internal clocks and disrupts biological rhythms.
Among the proven effects of night work on health established by the INRS: sleep disorders, drowsiness, metabolic syndrome. Among the likely effects: decreased ability to concentrate and memory, anxiety and depression, overweight and obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, …
What prevention possible?
To limit the negative effects of night work and shift work on safety officers, preventive measures can be put in place.
In the first place, it is necessary to ensure the correct observance of the regularity of schedules and regulations concerning working time and night work: http://www.inrs.fr/risques/work-de-nuit -and-work-station / reglementation.html
Act on the organization of work
Mostly leaving the leaders (heads of post) to carry out the schedules, the SGP Group intends to allow a better consideration of the constraints of each agent. In fact, to act on the work organization, especially at night, the SGP Group relies on leaders to associate their teams to the definition of work schedules and their practical arrangements (rotation rate, pause time, time of taking post, etc.,) to enable them to better organize their family and professional life.
Inform, train agents
On the health effects of night / shift work, make them aware of a healthy lifestyle, especially relating to sleep and diet.
Provide specific medical monitoring to the agent
By the health service at work at a frequency not exceeding 3 years, make an information and prevention visit prior to their assignment on the post, request an additional visit to the occupational health service if the state of health health of the agent who works at night is deteriorating.
Would you like to test your knowledge of atypical schedules and night work? Test yourself with the questionnaire produced by the INRS >> HERE