Managers must undertake a risk assessment for night and shift work. Night work refers to work carried out between 12 midnight and 7am on the following day.
You are a night worker if you:
- normally work at least 3 hours of your daily working time during night time
- your number of night-time working hours is 50%, or more, of the total number of hours, worked for that year
Negative effects of night and shift work
The negative effects of night and shift work include:
- disruption of your internal body clock (circadian rhythms)
- sleeping difficulties
- disruption to family and social life
- health effects
- errors and accidents
If you become unwell because of night or shift work, you can self-refer to your local occupational health department. Your manager can also make a referral.
Risk assessment by managers
Managers must undertake a general risk assessment (Word, 40KB, 2 pages) for night and shift work.
The risk factors to assess are:
- work activity
- shift pattern
- timing and duration
- physical environment
- welfare issues
- management issues
Some employees may be at higher risk because of night and shift work.
- pregnant employees
- employees with pre-existing health conditions
- new employees
Additional control measures may be needed to lessen the risk for these employees.
Some measures to consider include:
- providing information about the need for proper sleep and the dangers of fatigue
- ensuring night and shift workers have risk assessments and workstation assessments
- adjusting exposure levels to noise, chemicals and physical hazards
- ensuring car parks and external entrances are well lit at night
- ensuring proper ventilation of the workplace
- safeguarding lone workers
- include night and shift workers in training initiatives
- provide welfare facilities
Health assessment for night workers
Managers must offer an assessment of the health effects of night working.
This assessment should be offered:
- before employing a person as a night worker
- at regular intervals during their employment as a night worker
A registered medical practitioner, or a person acting under their supervision, must carry out this assessment. They will inform the manager if the employee is fit or unfit to perform the night work concerned.