Shift workers face higher risk of serious health problems

Staff who work in shift patterns are at higher risk of serious health problems, according to research by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Scientists studied a group of 45 men working on offshore oil rigs. They found that shift patterns led to staff being more tired and inattentive, which in turn led to a greater risk of accidents.

The study, carried out by a team at Surrey University, found that the more popular shift – a split rota of working seven nights followed by seven days – had the worst effect and led to higher incidences of health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Workers chose this shift so they would be ready for night sleeping when they returned to the mainland from the oil rigs, the research found.

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