Those who work at night face on-the-job risks not shared by workers in the daytime. Night shift workers have higher rates of workplace injury than daytime workers as a result of their unique job situation. It is the responsibility of employers to account for some of the special challenges that third-shift workers face in staying safe. This means taking appropriate precautions and providing help to nightshift workers in staying alert.
When a worker on any shift is hurt doing work duties, the employee needs to understand options available for obtaining benefits and compensation. An Atlanta workers compensation lawyer can represent workers in reporting injuries to employers, filing workers’ compensation claims, and filing lawsuits against any third parties liable for losses. Night and day shift workers both should be aware of their rights, and should contact an attorney as soon as they can after an incident occurs on-the-job.
Protecting Night Shift Workers from Atlanta Workplace Injury
Research from the Institute for Work & Health revealed that there was a significantly higher injury rate among night shift workers than day shift workers, even after controlling for other factors that could account for higher instances of injury. Women, in particular, were two to three times at greater risk of being hurt when working the night shift or when working rotating shifts, compared with their counterparts who only worked during the daytime hours.
Night shift workers are at greater danger of getting hurt on the job for several primary reasons including:
- Increased potential for fatigue-related injuries. A person’s body clock does not ever fully adjust to sleeping days and working nights, and people naturally tend to be less alert in the night than during the day.
- Fewer co-workers around. When there are more people around, there are more eyes on the job who can spot safety risks. Employees working day shifts can also look out for each other more and provide warnings of dangerous conditions.
- Increased risk of violence. Negligent security can put night shit workers at risk of robberies and attacks, especially in industries where money or valuable property may be a target for thieves.
Employers need to make sure they have reasonable security measures in place to provide protection to night shift workers. The specifics of what exactly is considered to be reasonable precautions in terms of preventing violence will vary depending upon the past history of threats and crimes, among other factors.
Addressing the risk of fatigue-related injuries is more complicated. Safety News Alert points to different options for fighting fatigue among shift workers, including the use of light therapy as well as providing nap breaks. One study, from Cochrane University, however, actually suggested that caffeine was better at improving the performance of nighttime workers than either light therapy or prescription medications. Simply providing coffee and coffee breaks could help third shift workers to stay safe.
Workers compensation should pay the bills for all work injuries, even if an injury happened because an employee was fatigued. Employers who want to avoid losing staff to injuries and who want to keep insurance costs low should strongly consider exploring all possible approaches to helping protect night shift workers.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.