Friday, 07 August 2015 15:55

Shiftwork Safety Checklist

Shiftwork comes with many inherent risks – especially risks related to human error.

Here’s a useful checklist that managers can use to identify which safety practices should be added to their shiftwork operation.

shift work safety checklist Require daytime managers to periodically work at night.

Managers who’ve experienced the challenges that of working at 4 A.M. are more likely to think of practical ways to improve the safety and wellness of their shiftworkers than managers who’ve never experienced a night shift.

shift work safety checklist Evaluate your work environment

Conduct a comprehensive review of your workplace to identify factors that contribute to fatigue – such as dim lighting, poor airflow, and warm temperatures (i.e. over 70 degrees).

shift work safety checklist Put shiftwork safety on the agenda

Make sure that overnight safety is a mandated discussion point at safety committee meetings and that night workers have a seat at the table.

shift work safety checklist Teach workers about sleep and napping

Getting enough off-duty sleep is the most effective way to maintain alertness. You can’t force workers to sleep, but you can ensure that they are given sufficient shiftwork lifestyle training to educate them on the fundamental importance of sleep, getting quality daytime sleep, and making the most of pre-work naps.

shift work safety checklist Permit several short breaks

Many shiftwork jobs involve doing the same task for long stretches of time. This monotony can induce microsleeps and other lapses in alertness – especially on the night shift. In addition to a 25- to 35-minute break per shift, workers on the night shift benefit from a 10- to 15-minute break every two or three hours.

shift work safety checklist Assess your schedule

No shiftwork schedule is perfect, but some are particularly difficult. Schedules that require workers to rotate backward (i.e., to go from nights to evenings to days) or work five or more consecutive 12-hour shifts can exacerbate fatigue levels.

shift work safety checklist Monitor overtime

People are more likely to make mistakes when they’ve accumulated a sleep debt from several days of insufficient sleep — which may result from excess overtime. Keep an eye on overall overtime levels (including a breakdown of day vs. night OT hours) and identify individual “overtime hogs” who accrue large amounts of extra work hours.

shift work safety checklist Standardize shift change procedures

A large proportion of accidents occur during shift changes because of the additional movement around the plant and the increased need for communication among workers. Make sure you have procedures in place that ensure a smooth transition between shifts.

shift work safety checklist Watch out for “The Wall”

Due to the dip in circadian rhythms, the hours between 4 and 6 A.M. are generally the hardest — and riskiest — hours of the night shift to work. Exercise has been shown to boost alertness, making an exercise bike or treadmill available for interested workers may minimize the risk of “hitting the wall”.

shift work safety checklist Don’t forget the drive home

Due to the increased risk of falling asleep at the wheel, the post-shift commute home is often a dangerous part of a shiftworker’s day. Provide workers with a quiet room to nap in before heading home.

shift work safety checklist Provide shiftwork lifestyle training

Whether it’s handing out relevant literature, providing training online, or holding in-person seminars – it’s always a wise idea to educate workers on the health and safety challenges of shiftwork. Providing shiftwork lifestyle training is also a great way to show workers that you recognize the unique challenges they face – which can improve employee morale.

Managing a Shiftwork Lifestyle Training

Working closely with researchers and experienced shiftworkers, CIRCADIAN has developed the Managing a Shiftwork Lifestyle training program to provide practical solutions for easing the adjustment and day-to-day difficulties associated with shiftwork lifestyles.

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Download our complementary CIRCADIAN white paper, “Shiftwork Lifestyle Training: Employee and Employer Benefits

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About CIRCADIAN

CIRCADIAN® is the global leader in providing 24/7 workforce performance and safety solutions for businesses that operate around the clock. Through a unique combination of consulting expertise, research and technology, software tools and informative publications, CIRCADIAN helps organizations in the 24-hour economy optimize employee performance and reduce the inherent risks and costs of their extended hours operations.

Nearly 20% of the workforce worldwide work at times outside of 7 AM - 6 PM due to evening shifts, night shifts, or rotating shifts.1

Shift work has been connected to a higher prevalence in obesity, diabetes, metabolic disturbances, and cardiovascular morbidity.2

The increased health problems related to shift work are thought to be at least partially due to circadian misalignment that results in reduced insulin sensitivity, poorer glucose regulation and altered patterns of leptin and cortisol secretion.3

Sleep deprivation is also thought to be a contributor to the increased health problems seen among shift work populations, as shift workers often report greater sleep difficulties and reduced sleep quantity as compared to typical daytime employees.4 It's been well documented that sleep deprivation is an independent risk factor for many of the health detriments associated with shift work.5

Recent research has investigated the impact of delayed timing of eating on weight and metabolism. In a recent review of the evidence to date, scientists make a strong case that delayed timing of eating could be a contributing factor to weight gain and metabolic dysregulation.6

Weight Gain & Timing of Eating - Research Findings

Research on the impact of delayed timing of eating on weight and metabolism has provided the following insights:

- Delays in the typical daytime pattern of eating has been found to increase the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome in humans.2,7

- Delayed sleep timing is associated with poorer diet and later eating times, the latter of which is related to higher BMI.8

- Evening type (owls) chronotype, as compared to the morning type (lark), has also been found to be associated with larger meals, later eating times, and higher BMI.9-11

- Descriptive studies of non-eating disordered adults found that breakfast intake was negatively related to total daily caloric intake and weight gain, 12,13 while the proportion of food consumed late at night was positively related to total energy intake.14

- One study found that distributing the majority of meals to the morning for 6 weeks resulted in greater weight loss compared to distributing the majority of meals to the afternoon and evening for 6 weeks.15

- Another study found that "late eaters" (those eating their large, mid-day meal after 3 PM), as compared to "early eaters" (eating their mid-day meal before 3 PM), lost significantly less weight during the 5-month study, despite similar self-reported energy intake, macronutrient content, estimated energy expenditure, appetitive hormone profiles, and self-reported sleep duration.16

Conclusion

Results from various studies collectively suggest that nighttime eating may contribute to weight gain, or, at a minimum, maintenance of increased weight.6

Based on this body of research, behavioral modification strategies that might promote weight loss or prevent weight gain include:

- Eating lunch earlier in the daytime 16

- Eliminating eating in the evening after 7-8 PM 8,17

- Avoiding sleep restriction when dieting 18

- Advancing bedtime 8

Implications for Shift Workers

While these new behavioral modification strategies are promising to individuals operating within a typical circadian rhythm, shift workers can face various challenges when implementing these strategies.

Given the unique challenges that shift workers face, health strategies such as timing of eating must be modified to best fit one’s schedule.

Shiftwork Lifestyle Training

Adjusting to a shiftwork lifestyle isn’t intuitive, and most shiftworkers don’t know how to adjust their lifestyle to minimize the negative effects of working around the clock. As a result, workers’ job performance, safety, health, and family life can suffer as company profits and productivity fall.

Training workers on how to manage a shiftwork lifestyle is a powerful tool for improving your employees’ physical and psychological well-being, thereby increasing morale and effectiveness, while potentially reducing health care costs.

CIRCADIAN® Managing a Shiftwork Lifestyle Training

Working closely with researchers and experienced shiftworkers, CIRCADIAN has developed the Managing a Shiftwork Lifestyle training program to provide practical solutions for easing the adjustment and day-to-day difficulties associated with shiftwork lifestyles.

Download our complementary CIRCADIAN® white paper, “Shiftwork Lifestyle Training: Employee and Employer Benefits”.

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About CIRCADIAN®

CIRCADIAN® is the global leader in providing 24/7 workforce performance and safety solutions for businesses that operate around the clock. Through a unique combination of consulting expertise, research and technology, software tools and informative publications, CIRCADIAN helps organizations in the 24-hour economy optimize employee performance and reduce the inherent risks and costs of their extended hours operations.

REFERENCES

1. Wright Jr KP, Bogan RK, Wyatt JK. Shift work and the assessment and management of shift work disorder (SWD). Sleep Med Rev. (2013): 17:41–54.

2. Åkerstedt T, Wright KP. Sleep loss and fatigue in shift work and shift work disorder. Sleep Med Clin. (2009): 4:257–71.

3. Scheer FA, Hilton MF, Mantzoros CS, Shea SA. Adverse metabolic and cardiovascular consequences of circadian misalignment. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. (2009): 106:4453–8.

4. Åkerstedt, Torbjörn. "Shift work and disturbed sleep/wakefulness." Occupational Medicine 53.2 (2003): 89-94.

5. Mullington, Janet M., et al. "Cardiovascular, inflammatory, and metabolic consequences of sleep deprivation." Progress in cardiovascular diseases 51.4 (2009): 294-302.

6. Allison, Kelly C., Namni Goel, and Rexford S. Ahima. "Delayed timing of eating: impact on weight and metabolism." Current Obesity Reports 3.1 (2014): 91-100.

7. Maury E, Ramsey KM, Bass J. Circadian rhythms and metabolic syndrome: from experimental genetics to human disease. Circ Res. (2010): 106:447–62.

8. Baron KG, Reid KJ, Kern AS, Zee PC. Role of sleep timing in caloric intake and BMI. Obesity. (2011): 19:1374–81.

9. Lucassen EA, Zhao X, Rother KI, Mattingly MS, Courville AB, de Jonge L, et al. Evening chronotype is associated with changes in eating behavior, more sleep apnea, and increased stress hormones in short sleeping obese individuals. PLoS One. (2013): 8:e56519.

10. Kanerva N, Kronholm E, Partonen T, Ovaskainen ML, Kaartinen NE, Konttinen H, et al. Tendency toward eveningness is associated with unhealthy dietary habits. Chronobiol Int. (2012): 29:920–7.

11. Culnan E, Kloss JD, Grandner M. A prospective study of weight gain associated with chronotype among college freshmen. Chronobiol Int. (2013): 30:682–90.

12. De Castro JM. The time of day of food intake influences overall intake in humans. J Nutr. (2004): 134:104–11.

13. Van der Heijden AA, Hu FB, Rimm EB, van Dam RM. A prospective study of breakfast consumption and weight gain among U.S. men. Obesity. (2007): 15:2463–9.

14. Morse SA, Ciechanowski PS, Katon WJ, Hirsch IB. Isn’t this just bedtime snacking? The potential adverse effects of night-eating symptoms on treatment adherence outcomes in patients with diabetes. Diabetes Care. (2006): 29:1800–04.

15. Keim NL, Van Loan MD, Horn WF, Barbieri TF, Mayclin PL. Weight loss is greater with consumption of large morning meals and fat-free mass is preserved with large evening meals in women on a controlled weight reduction regimen. J Nutr. (1997): 127:75–82.

16. Garaulet M, Gómez-Abellán P, Alburquerque-Béjar JJ, Lee YC, Ordovás JM, Scheer FA. Timing of food intake predicts weight loss effectiveness. Int J Obes. (2013): 37:604–11.

17. LeCheminant JD, Christenson E, Bailey BW, Tucker LA. Restricting night-time eating reduces daily energy intake in healthy young men: a short-term cross-over study. Br J Nutr. (2013): 23:1–6.

18. Nedeltcheva AV, Kilkus JM, Imperial J, Schoeller DA, Penev PD. Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Ann Intern Med. (2010): 153:435–41.

Friday, 10 July 2015 14:36

5 Tips for Managing 24/7 Operations

managing shift work operations

Managing 24/7 operations comes with a host of challenges that many daytime-only operations don’t have to consider. Based on our expertise in 24/7 workforce solutions, here are five useful tips for managing 24/7 operations.

TIP 1: Examine your business reasons for operating around-the-clock

Many operations involve processes that require the operation to run continuously – however, some operations have a choice, one that is often made largely on economic grounds.

A variety of factors should be taken into consideration when deciding on whether or not to run operations continuously (i.e. 24-hours a day).

There are many compelling economic advantages to running nonstop, 24/7 operations, including: increased utilization of capital investment, improvements in customer service, and reduced pay-back time for investments in automation.

Each of these provide a sizable operational advantage, especially when labor costs are a small percentage of the total budget. Additionally, if the alternative to running continuous operations is to purchase major equipment or build a new plant, the financial advantages of running nonstop can be considerable.

Financial disadvantages of running 24/7 operations include potentially significant excess costs due to employee fatigue, which can emerge as increased errors, accidents, legal liability, turnover, health care costs, labor relations, and absenteeism. Remember – just one serious error of inattention by a sleepy employee can cost a company millions or even billions of dollars.

In many organizations, the costs of human fatigue are hidden costs buried in the budgets of the operation – however, these very real costs should be quantified and included in decision-making processes.

It’s critical that the financial implications are calculated for both major fatigue-related accidents and the cumulative costs of smaller fatigue-induced errors that reduce productivity, impair quality, damage equipment and increase scrap and rework.

TIP 2: Recognize and respect the limits of the “human machine”

We are taught that people should not be treated like machines; however, if we thought of people as highly complex machines, we might have a greater respect for their limitations.

Machines have design specifications and operating manuals that tell us the conditions under which we can use them. The human body is an exceedingly complex machine with very constrained performance limits, which we must respect if we are to reliably perform the tasks modern society demands.

We’re not designed to operate continuously around-the-clock, or on irregular schedules, or with consistent performance no matter the time of day or night. Human performance doesn’t occur linearly.

With these and many other such limits to human physiology in mind, think carefully about the tasks you are expecting people to perform, the work and rest schedules you expect them to live, and the workplace conditions you have created for them. Are you respecting and adapting to human physiological limits and building on the strengths of the human machine, or are you setting up your shiftworkers for failure or impaired performance?

TIP 3: Educate your workforce on the biological basis of shift work challenges

When it comes to managing people in continuous operations, supervisors and managers can incorrectly rely on intuition when assessing and addressing the needs of shift workers.

For an operation to run safely, it’s important that both management and workers understand the physiological principles of alertness, sleep, fatigue and circadian rhythms. Education can be provided with formal training about human sleep and alertness physiology – supplemented by readings, manuals, classes, online training, and/or seminars.

With an understanding of basic human physiology, managers and supervisors can make educated decisions that will enhance the alertness, effectiveness and health of your 24/7 workforce, rather than unintentionally undermine them.

TIP 4: Position fatigue risk management as a win-win for labor and management

Effective fatigue risk management systems (FRMS) require that management and employees work together cooperatively to combat the root causes of fatigue. This is essential because part of the solution lies in the employees’ hands and part is controlled by management.

CIRCADIAN experts agree that an FRMS can be launched even under the most difficult labor-management relations, as long as the win-win nature of the outcome is fully communicated and understood.

Considerable benefits exist for employees including improved sleep, quality of life, health and well-being. Likewise for management, major improvements can be achieved in safety, quality, productivity, employee morale and plant performance – all of which impact the bottom line.

The challenge, of course, is to build trust between management and employees to the point where all levels of management and all employees (and their union representatives if the facility is organized) can listen to and understand the win-win outcomes that are possible.

Neutral, third-party experts can provide the credibility and trust needed to implement an effective FRMS and can aid in communications between management and workers to ease underlying tensions.

TIP 5: Build a seamless continuous operations culture

Running a successful 24/7 operation requires a full commitment to the development of a continuous operations culture – where Wednesday afternoon is no different from Sunday night.

This is a challenge for many operations, as life is different on all shifts, especially in a fixed shift environment. How do you create one culture? One set of values? One operating standard?

Are all shifts supported equally? If not, problems can emerge in terms of employee morale, operational safety, productivity, and quality control due to differing levels of attention, training, supervision, experience, and/or motivation across various crews.

Professionalizing your entire 24-hour operation requires building a unified culture, where the corporate mission is well-defined, and standards and policies are uniformly applied 168 hours a week.

The end goal is to retain employees who see their jobs as a full-time commitment, who develop a loyalty to the entire operation and not just one crew, and who can move from crew to crew when necessary.

To earn this degree of employee commitment, an operation must make a sincere commitment to the safety and health of the entire workforce – all crews, at all hours. This is the only way in which an operation can develop a seamless, continuous operations culture.

Want to learn more about managing 24/7 operations?

Download the free CIRCADIAN white paper, “Reducing the Costs of Continuous Operating Schedules”.

shift work costs and management

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About CIRCADIAN®

CIRCADIAN® is the global leader in providing 24/7 workforce performance and safety solutions for businesses that operate around the clock. Through a unique combination of consulting expertise, research and technology, software tools and informative publications, CIRCADIAN helps organizations in the 24-hour economy optimize employee performance and reduce the inherent risks and costs of their extended hours operations.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015 14:48

Insomnia in the Workforce

Insomnia in the Workforce

A new study of permanent night shift workers suggests that cognitive impairments and performance declines on the night shift are more strongly correlated to insomnia than to sleepiness.

Link between insomnia and work performance on the night shift

The study by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan on the night shift found that of the workers who regularly experienced insomnia, workers who reported feeling alert on the night shift demonstrated greater degrees of impairment in work productivity and cognitive function than workers who reported excessive sleepiness on the night shift.

The study also found that alert insomniacs reported significantly greater fatigue than sleepy insomniacs, which emphasizes the difference between fatigue and sleepiness.

Fatigue vs Sleepiness

While fatigue and sleepiness may seem like synonymous terms, there are subtle, but distinct differences between the two terms.

As explained in the ‘The Definition of Human Fatigue’, fatigue is an impairment of mental and physical functioning manifested by a cluster of symptoms, one of which is sleepiness.

Fatigue is a term that embodies the feelings of weariness, tiredness, or lack of energy that result from a variety of causes including: sleep deprivation, sleep disorders, illness, therapeutic side effects, stress, mental or physical exertion, and/or rebounds from stimulant drug usage.

Sleepiness, on the other hand, is a symptom of fatigue characterized by an inability to stay awake and an increased propensity to fall asleep.

Significance of findings

The findings from this study are significant, as a recent meta-analysis of 27 observational studies found that sleep problems among shift workers increase the risk of workplace injuries by 62 percent.

A study completed last year by Swiss researchers found that there was a dose-response relationship between sleep problem severity and the odds of a workplace injury occurring.

Workers were 2x more likely to suffer a work injury if diagnosed with a sleep disorder, while workers with a diagnosed sleep disorder and suffering from poor sleep quality had a 3x greater risk of a work injury.

Seventy million Americans suffer from sleep problems, with nearly 60% suffering from a chronic sleep disorder. Given these findings, sleep issues and disorders threaten the safety of many operations across the United States.

Insomnia prevalence in U.S. workforce

One Harvard Medical School study found that 1 in 4 U.S. workers suffers from insomnia, costing U.S. employers $63 billion in lost productivity each year.

A study on the relationship between insomnia and productivity revealed that insomniacs were no more likely than their well-rested peers to miss work; however, their on-the-job sleepiness due to insomnia cost their employers the equivalent of 7.8 days of work in lost productivity each year – with the average cost totaling $2,280 per person.

Chronic vs acute insomnia

WebMD defines insomnia as a sleep disorder characterized by an inability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. Insomnia can vary in how long it lasts and how often it occurs.

Insomnia can either occur sporadically over a period of days or weeks, known as acute insomnia, or it can be an ongoing problem that occurs at least three nights a week for a month or longer, known as chronic insomnia. Insomnia can also disappear and reappear, with periods of time in which a person has no sleep problems, while other times a person experiences persistent sleep problems.

Insomnia treatment options

Various treatment options exist for insomnia, including cognitive behavioral therapy, lifestyle changes, and various medications.

In recent years, cognitive behavioral therapy has been the recommended initial treatment option for insomnia due to its high efficacy rate and long-lasting benefits without adverse side effects.

GoodSleep®Â 

In 2004, a group of renowned sleep researchers developed a cognitive behavioral therapy program for insomnia (CBT-I) that was more effective at treating insomnia than sleeping pills.

The program lead developer was Dr. Gregg Jacobs, a leading authority on the treatment of insomnia and who has spent the last 25 years researching and treating sleep problems at Harvard Medical School and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Dr. Jacobs’ CBT-I program was used to develop CIRCADIAN GoodSleep®, a 5-week, self-guided audio and/or workbook-based program for people to improve their sleep by implementing behavior modifications. GoodSleep® has been proven to help hundreds of thousands of people to improve their sleep.

GoodSleep® is now a critical part of CIRCADIAN’s Corporate Sleep Programs, which offer corporations customized and research-based solutions to address the issue of Sleep Wellness for all levels of a corporation or organization’s workforce. GoodSleep currently aims to improve sleep for night time sleepers; however, plans are in place to develop a GoodSleep program aimed to help shift workers with their sleep.

GoodSleep

 

Many employers provide work breaks to employees, whether paid or unpaid; however, this common practice isn’t federally mandated – with the exception of required breaks for nursing mothers. Fewer than half of the states require employers to provide a meal break, and the specifications of these required breaks vary by state.

Often times, workers on 8-hour shifts are allotted two, 10-15 minute breaks, along with a 30-minute meal break, and those on 12-hour shifts are allotted three short breaks and a longer meal break.

While this is a common practice, it’s not necessarily the best practice for every operation. When on the night shift, for instance, shortening meal breaks while increasing the number of short breaks can increase the effectiveness of breaks.

In operations that allow for workers to easily cover for one another, workers should be encouraged to take a 10-15 minute break after roughly two hours of continuous work. This can mean as many as four breaks on an 8-hour schedule and five breaks on a 12-hour schedule (including the shortened meal break).

Frequent, short breaks allow workers enough time to leave their work stations for a quick walk or to eat a snack, which in turn can reduce fatigue and/or boredom while on duty.

The short-break strategy offers several advantages over the traditional model – not just in terms of employee morale and productivity, but safety as well.

Safety Implications of Short Breaks

In one study examining the impact of breaks on the risk of workplace injuries, workers in an engineering plant were each given a 15-minute break following two hours of continuous work.

For analytical purposes, the two hour work period was segmented into four, 30-minute periods; the number of injuries within each of these periods was calculated, and the risk in each 30-minute period was expressed relative to the first 30-minute period immediately following the break.1

As depicted in Figure 1, relative injury risk rose substantially and linearly between successive work breaks, with the relative risk more than doubling by the final 30-minute period before the next break.

Figure 1. Trend in Relative Risk between 15-Minute Breaks1
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Interestingly, this trend didn’t differ between the day and night shifts, or for the three successive 2-hour periods of continuous work within each shift. It’s important to note, however, that the relative injury risk is collectively higher on the night shift than on the day shift.

Frequent, short breaks can clearly be a win-win solution for both workers and management that reduces fatigue, while simultaneously improving morale and safety.

REFERENCES

  1. Tucker, P., Folkard, S., & Macdonald, I. (2003). Rest breaks and accident risk. The Lancet, 361(9358), 680.

 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015 16:06

Managing an Aging Workforce

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Researchers at Georgetown University predict that the U.S. economy will face a shortage of 5 million workers with the necessary education and training by 2020.1

Shiftwork & Aging Workers

For shiftwork operations with older workforces, the three critical questions:
  1. Is our operation facing an impending labor shortage?
  2. How do we retain our highly-skilled senior workers?
  3. If we retain our senior workers, what safeguards must be employed?

Impending Labor Shortage

For shiftwork operations that depend on senior workers, it’s a good idea to strategize a solution for the potential labor shortage in advance. Your operation can:
  1. Space out multiple retirements over a period of years
  2. Implement training programs for more junior employees
  3. Encourage senior workers to delay retirement

Shift Work, Aging, and Safety

A common misconception among shiftwork operations is that older workers develop more problems with shiftwork as they age.

In a review of research that focused on the effect of age on the sleep, fatigue, performance, accident rates and health of shiftworkers, the findings were mixed:

Two studies reported more problems in older people, four studies reported opposite results, while in five studies no significant age-shift work interaction was observed. From across-shift comparisons (six studies), it was deduced that older compared with younger workers have more sleep problems with night shifts, while the opposite is true for morning shifts. This review did find some differences between older and younger workers, but did not find evidence for the suggestion of more shift work problems in older workers.2

Sleep and Aging

Sleep itself has been found to be directly affected by age. With age, it becomes harder to fall asleep, stay asleep, and achieve restorative amounts of sleep.

On a related note - our circadian rhythms begin to slowly shift backwards as we get older, normally beginning in our early twenties. This means that throughout our lifetime, we progressively wake up and go to bed earlier and earlier. For some people, the natural morning wake-up time can change by as much as two hours throughout their lifetime. This increase in “morningness” (i.e. earlier wake-up time) can make it harder for shiftworkers to sleep during the daytime.

Along with increased morningness, circadian rhythms become less flexible with age. Coping with shift changes can become more difficult with age, as it takes longer to adjust to working at night after several days off. However, as previously mentioned, aging doesn’t necessarily result in additional problems with shiftwork.

REFERENCES

  1. Allie Bidwell, “Report: Economy Will Face Shortage of 5 Million Workers in 2020” U.S News and World Report, July 8, 2013
  2. Blok MM and de Looze MP. “What is the evidence for less shift work tolerance in older workers?” Ergonomics. 2011 Mar;54(3):221-32
Tuesday, 14 April 2015 14:48

Workforce Fatigue: 5 Must-See Graphs

1. Fatigue levels and worker’s compensation costs

CIRCADIAN’s Shiftwork Practices Survey revealed that fatigued workers exhibit up to 4x the worker’s compensation costs as compared to non-fatigued workers.1

Figure 1 shows the average cost of worker compensation claims per employee per year paid in 24/7 industrial and transportation operations with levels of employee fatigue ranking from low to high.1

Figure 1. Fatigue Levels and Worker’s Compensation Costs1

worker fatigue and workers compensation costs
 

2. Prolonged wakefulness compared to alcohol use: effects on alertness

Sustained wakefulness has been found to produce lapses in behavioral functioning that are comparable to alcohol intoxication.

One study found that after 22 hours of sustained wakefulness, participants’ performance on tests such as reaction time, reasoning ability, and task accuracy were comparable to performance with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% (Figure 2).2

Authors concluded that the study results suggested that “moderate levels of fatigue produce performance equivalent to or greater than those observed at levels of alcohol intoxication deemed unacceptable when driving, working and/or operating dangerous equipment”.2

Figure 2. Prolonged wakefulness compared to alcohol use: effects on alertness2
sustained wakefulness vs alcohol use

3. Sleep deprivation and reaction time

Research has demonstrated that reaction time slows following sleep deprivation.3

In one study, subjects were tested on their reaction time to a visual cue. Reaction time is not only slower following sleep deprivation, but as time on task increases, reaction time deteriorates at a steeper rate following sleep deprivation than following adequate sleep (Figure 3).3

 Figure 3. Sleep deprivation and reaction time3
sleep deprivation and reaction time

4. Shiftwork adaptation & fatigue

A person’s “circadian profile” tends to affect his or her ability to adapt to shiftwork. Three main characteristics of circadian profiles have been extensively evaluated: morningness/eveningness, flexibility of sleeping habits, and one’s ability to overcome drowsiness. Both flexibility of sleep habits and ability to overcome drowsiness are associated with better long term adaptation to shiftwork.4

According to CIRCADIAN’s shiftwork database, non-adapted workers report feeling drowsy and nodding off while working 3x more often than adapted workers and also reported making mistakes 4x more frequently than adapted workers (Figure 4).4

Figure 4. Shiftwork Adaptation & Feelings of Fatigue4
fatigue accidents and shiftwork adaptation

5. Fatigue & lost work time

Based on results from the Health & Work Performance Questionnaire (HPQ) – sleep disorders, depression, and fatigue are the three biggest contributors to lost work time (Figure 5).5 The HPQ is an employee self-report tool that assesses 29 chronic health conditions and includes questions related to accidents, injuries, and work performance.

Lost work time in this study included both absenteeism and presenteeism – which is defined as time spent at work focusing on non-work-related tasks. Results from this cross-sectional survey of health and productivity are based on 1,147 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) employees at two DOE national laboratories.

Figure 5. Lost Work Time from Chronic Health Conditions5
lost work time fatigue insomnia sleep deprivation

Is fatigue impacting your workforce?

It can be challenging to determine if fatigue is negatively impacting your workforce. Some tell-tale signs of worker fatigue issues can include:

  • High worker’s compensation costs
  • High rates of errors and accidents
  • Sluggish employees
  • Heavy caffeine/nicotine consumption among workers
  • Lowered productivity
  • Increased absenteeism rates (especially unexpected absenteeism)

To learn more about fatigue and its impact on 24/7 operations, download our FREE white paper:

The Myths & Realities of Fatigue

Reducing the Costs, Risks, and Liabilities of Fatigue in 24-Hour Operations
myths and realities of worker fatigue
download white paper now

CIRCADIAN® FRMS and 24/7 Workforce Solutions

CIRCADIAN® is the global leader in providing 24/7 workforce performance and safety solutions for businesses that operate around the clock. Through a unique combination of consulting expertise, research and technology, software tools and informative publications, CIRCADIAN helps organizations in the 24-hour economy optimize employee performance and reduce the inherent risks and costs of their extended hours operations.

Fatigue risk management systems and solutions

morningness eveningness

Does an individual’s circadian profile affect their ability to adapt to shiftwork?

Shiftwork Adaptation: Early Birds vs Night Owls

A person’s “circadian profile” tends to affect his or her ability to adapt to shiftwork. Three main characteristics of circadian profiles have been extensively evaluated: morningness/eveningness, flexibility of sleeping habits, and one’s ability to overcome drowsiness.

Morningness is associated with a reduced flexibility in sleep patterns—morning types find it more difficult to sleep during the morning hours than evening types, because of this rigidity in sleeping patterns, morning types’ struggle to adapt to night work.1

Shiftworkers in 24/7 operations who prefer to wake up late (after 9 a.m.), evening types, report sleeping more hours and getting better sleep when on the night shift schedule, as compared to morning types.

Researchers have found that after three years of shiftwork, one’s ability to overcome drowsiness is the best indicator of shiftwork tolerance. Both flexibility of sleep habits and ability to overcome drowsiness are associated with better long term shiftwork tolerance.1 Shiftwork intolerance, which occurs when workers never adjust to a shiftwork lifestyle, can result in health problems among workers and accompanying safety problems for an operation.

Consequences of Shiftwork Intolerance

Health Problems
Many shiftworkers suffer health problems due to the disruption of their circadian rhythms – especially when working rotating schedules.
Shiftwork intolerance can result in the following health problems: 2
  • Sleep disturbances and chronic tiredness
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Depression, fatigue, mood disturbances, malaise, personality changes
  • Interpersonal relationship difficulties
Safety Concerns
Shiftwork intolerance poses significant safety concerns to an operation as well.
Non-adapted workers report feeling drowsy and nodding off while working 3x more often than adapted workers, and also report making mistakes 4x more frequently than adapted workers (Figure 1).1
Figure 1. Alertness while working: well-adapted and non-adapted shiftworkers1
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Shiftwork Lifestyle Training

Improved shiftwork adaptation seems to be associated with healthy behaviors during wakefulness that improve sleep quality (e.g. diet, exercise, scheduling).

Most shiftworkers are often times unaware of how to properly adjust their lifestyle to mitigate the negative effects of working around the clock. As a result, workers’ job performance, safety, health, and family life can suffer along with company profits and productivity levels.

Training workers on how to manage a shiftwork lifestyle is a powerful tool for improving your employees’ physical and psychological well-being, thereby increasing morale and adaptation to shiftwork.

In fact, research reports have found that turnover and absenteeism rates are lower in facilities that provide shiftwork lifestyle training.1

Download Our Free White Paper

Download our complementary CIRCADIAN® white paper, “Shiftwork Lifestyle Training: Employee and Employer Benefits
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About CIRCADIAN®

CIRCADIAN® is the global leader in providing 24/7 workforce performance and safety solutions for businesses that operate around the clock. Through a unique combination of consulting expertise, research and technology, software tools and informative publications, CIRCADIAN helps organizations in the 24-hour economy optimize employee performance and reduce the inherent risks and costs of their extended hours operations.

REFERENCES
1. CIRCADIAN. (2003). Health in Extended Hours Operations: Understanding the Challenges, Implementing the Solutions.
2. Costa, G. (1998). Guidelines for the medical surveillance of shift workers. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health. 3; 151-155.
3. Scott, A., LaDou, J. (1990). Shiftwork: effects on sleep and health with recommendations for medical surveillance and screening. Occupational Medicine: State of the Art Reviews. 5(2); 273-299.

tired businessman daylight savings
The beginning of Daylight Savings Time has left many of us feeling a bit fatigued. The 6:30 AM alarm instead feels like a 5:30 AM alarm, and even after a few days, lingering fatigue still seems to exist.

Why is it so difficult to adjust to the time change?

Our internal 24-hour clock – known as our circadian rhythm – doesn’t adjust to daylight savings time – even in the weeks following the time change.1 While the 1-hour time change seems minor, the repercussions of this change are dramatic.

Various studies have found that the beginning of daylight savings time is associated with:

  • Increased risk of heart attack 2
  • Increased rate of traffic accidents 3
  • Greater risk of workplace injuries 4
  • Reduced workplace productivity 5

The beginning of daylight savings time reminds us that our circadian rhythms are heavily dependent on our sleep and wakefulness schedules to regulate our alertness, immune response, activity levels, and hormone secretion patterns – along with many other functions.

Shifting Perspectives

Imagine if you had to make drastic changes to your sleep schedule every week. This is the reality of millions of shift workers, athletes, and traveling professionals – many of whom are left with feelings of chronic fatigue due these schedule shifts.

Erratic sleep schedules not only result in fatigue – but can lead to metabolic disturbances and other major health problems. While travel sometimes necessitates dramatic, abrupt changes in our circadian rhythm, shift work doesn’t.

Twenty-four hour operations can implement schedules that better complement circadian physiology – based on the rotational direction of schedules, speed of rotation, and pattern of rotation. To learn more about this – download our FREE white paper on biocompatible shift scheduling.

Biocompatible Shift Scheduling
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About CIRCADIAN

CIRCADIAN® is the global leader in providing 24/7 workforce performance and safety solutions for businesses that operate around the clock. Through a unique combination of consulting expertise, research and technology, software tools and informative publications, CIRCADIAN helps organizations with traditional and/or extended operating hours optimize employee performance and reduce the inherent risks and costs of sleep deprivation and fatigue.



REFERENCES

1. Kantermann, T., Juda, M., Merrow, M., & Roenneberg, T. (2007). The human circadian clock's seasonal adjustment is disrupted by daylight saving time. Current Biology, 17(22), 1996-2000.

2. Janszky, I., & Ljung, R. (2008). Shifts to and from daylight saving time and incidence of myocardial infarction. New England Journal of Medicine, 359(18), 1966-1968.

3. Varughese, J., & Allen, R. P. (2001). Fatal accidents following changes in daylight savings time: the American experience. Sleep medicine, 2(1), 31-36.

4. Christopher M. Barnes, David T. Wagner. Changing to daylight saving time cuts into sleep and increases workplace injuries. Journal of Applied Psychology, 2009; 94 (5): 1305 DOI: 10.1037/a0015320

5. Wagner, D. T., Barnes, C. M., Lim, V. K., & Ferris, D. L. (2012). Lost sleep and cyberloafing: Evidence from the laboratory and a daylight saving time quasi-experiment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(5), 1068.

 

Monday, 07 December 2015 21:14

15 Sleep Resolutions for 2016

Here’s a new year’s resolution that you will want to uphold – a better night of sleep!

Below are 15 simple sleep (re)solutions that will help you sleep your way to a successful new year!

1. Turn off your technology before bed

eReaders night time

The bright light emitted from computer screens, smartphones, and eReaders inhibit the production of melatonin and delay circadian rhythms. Recent research has revealed that nighttime eReader usage can reduce nighttime sleepiness, fragment sleep, and reduce alertness the following morning.

Avoid contact with light-emitting screens and other bright lights at least a couple of hours before you plan to go to bed.

2. Get a new alarm clock

alarm clock

A smartphone makes for a convenient alarm clock; however, sticking to the old-fashion alarm clock is a better choice. Phone notifications and messages throughout the night can result in sleep fragmentation and microarousals.

Not willing to buy an alarm clock? At the very least, put your phone on airplane mode and on the opposite side of the room from your bed.

3. Ditch the late afternoon latte

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The effects of caffeine can last anywhere from 2.5 to 10 hours, which means that a mid-afternoon cup of coffee could result in tossing and turning when bedtime rolls around.

4. Set a Netflix limit

netflix at night

You’re only going to watch the first episode of the latest season of House of Cards? Unlikely.

Save yourself from a late-night Netflix binge by determining in advance how many episode you will watch before you go to start watching your shows. And for the love of sleep – don’t start the next season before bed!

5. Put a cap on the night caps

alcohol at night

While that night cap may help you fall asleep faster, it will end up doing more harm than good to the quality of your sleep.

Alcohol initially acts as a sedative to decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep; however, it causes sleep to be fragmented, especially during the 2nd half of the night.

6. Develop a bedtime routine

bedtime routine

Practicing a bedtime routine is ideal for preparing your mind and body for sleep. Listening to soothing music, taking a bath or shower, and light stretching are all great examples of bedtime routines that will help make falling asleep much easier.

7. No pets in the bed

pets in bed

It may be hard to kick your beloved pet out of the bedroom, but it’s for the best – we promise! Research this year found that of the individuals who shared the bed with their pets at least four nights a week, 63% reported poor sleep quality.

How is your furry friend impacting your sleep? Between their animated dreams, barks, meows, and spontaneous arousals, pets can seriously disrupt your sleep.

Some animals also operate on different biological clocks than humans. For instance, cats have poor biological rhythms of sleep and alertness, which can result in your playful cat waking you up at 4 AM.

8. Stick to your bedtime

set a bedtime

While it may seem juvenile, a regular bed time can be incredibly helpful for the synchronization of your internal clock, which can help you to fall asleep easier. Setting a bed time will also help you to get the proper amount of sleep each night.

9. Don't be a clock watcher

insomnia clock

When experiencing insomnia, clock-watching will often worsen the insomnia and make falling back to sleep much more challenging.

In order to avoid clock-watching behavior, refrain from sleeping with your phone at your bedside, and also cover alarm and TV clocks with black electric tape.

10. Stop falling for the snooze button

snooze button

The extra sleep with the snooze button may actually be leaving your MORE tired than just getting up the first time!

When you hit the snooze button, your body may restart its sleep cycle, entering into deeper stages of sleep and causing you to feel groggy and tired upon waking up. It’s best to just wake up upon the first alarm, as your body prepares itself to wake up even before your alarm clock goes off.

Can’t seem to break your snooze button habit? Try putting your alarm clock on the opposite side of the room from your bed. This will force you to get out of bed to turn off the alarm, and decrease the likelihood of you hitting the snooze button.

11. Cut out noise

white noise machine

Try to keep your sleep environment as quiet as possible in order to avoid micro arousals. Some great ways to reduce external noise include using earplugs or a white noise machine.

If you are less inclined to purchase a white noise machine, there are plenty of CDs and MP3s of white noise sounds that can be used with a sound system.

12. Have a sleep disorders screening

sleep disorder screening

Do you habitually snore? Have trouble falling asleep? Excessively tired during the day? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have an underlying sleep disorder.

It’s estimated that between 50-70 million Americans have a sleep and/or alertness disorder.1 Without proper treatment, these disorders can seriously impact your health and daily functioning. In fact, untreated obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to an increased risk of stroke, congestive heart failure, hypertension, and depression.

13. Start napping correctly

workplace napping

Need a mid-day boost? A power nap is the perfect solution – if done properly.

To maximize the effectiveness of your power nap, keep it shorter than 30 minutes to avoid sleep inertia, which can leave you feeling groggy for the rest of the day. Can’t fall asleep in that short of a time frame? Don’t worry about it! You don’t necessarily have to fall asleep to feel the benefits of a nap.

It’s also important not to nap too late in the day, as this can cause sleep troubles come bed time.

Napping trick: Drink a caffeinated beverage immediately before taking a nap so that you will feel supercharged after waking up from your nap.

14. Wake up at the same time every day

rising woman

The strength of our circadian rhythms is dependent upon the consistency of our bed and wake times.

Getting up at the same time, every day (weekends too) strengthens our circadian rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning.

If you want to catch up on some zzzs, try taking a mid-afternoon nap or even going to bed earlier.

15. Get more sleep!

sleeping man

Chronic sleep deprivation is a serious issue. Studies have found that individuals who routinely sleep less than 7 hours per night have an increased risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

If you’re getting less than 7 - 8 hours of sleep a night, your #1 New Year’s Resolution should be to get more sleep! With a good night of sleep, 2016 may be YOUR year to shine!

About CIRCADIAN

CIRCADIAN® is the global leader in providing 24/7 workforce performance and safety solutions for businesses that operate around the clock. Through a unique combination of consulting expertise, research and technology, software tools and informative publications, CIRCADIAN helps organizations with traditional and/or extended operating hours optimize employee performance and reduce the inherent risks and costs of sleep deprivation and fatigue.

Resources

1. Institute of Medicine. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2006.

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