The Business Case for Shift Work Training

Today we look at the health and bottom-line costs of shift work, the ROI of shift work safety training, and at a tool that meets your training needs.

Because they toil away after the “normal” workday ends and before it begins, shift workers face significant challenges, not the least of which is the disruptive effect on their family and social lives.

But shift work (defined as shifts outside of the traditional 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. workday) can also have a damaging impact on health — and on your organization’s bottom line.

A white paper from Circadian, an international consulting company specializing in shift work issues, states that shift work entails an increased risk of:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Insomnia
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

Whatever safety meeting you need, chances are you’ll find it prewritten and ready to use in BLR’s Safety Meetings Library on CD.  Try it at no cost or risk. Here’s how.

In addition to driving up your organization’s insurance costs, shift work can also hurt the bottom line with its negative impact on safety incidents, absenteeism, production errors, and turnover.

Yet many of the health and economic costs of shift work can be lessened or eliminated with proper shift work training. A study at a mining company that implemented shift work training found that the training had a measurable impact on reducing health issues, including gastrointestinal problems. And night-shift workers reported they were getting an extra 1 hour of daytime sleep following the training.

Training can also help reduce turnover. A 2007 Circadian survey of shift work practices found that turnover was more than 4 percent lower at facilities where shift work training was provided.

And those turnover costs can really add up when you consider that the survey respondents reported that their costs of replacing a single employee ranged from $12,000 to $60,000.

“The results of both employer and employee analyses clearly indicate that shift worker lifestyle training provides measurable benefits for both the company, its employees, and their families,” Circadian reported. “In addition to improved alertness levels, health, and quality of life, such training can also reduce accidents, decrease legal liability, and reduce overall operating costs.”

We challenge you to NOT find a safety meeting you need, already prewritten, in BLR’s Safety Meetings Library. Take up our challenge at no cost or risk. Get the details.

The shift work training meeting in BLR’s Safety Meetings Library says that workers can protect themselves from shift work hazards by focusing their efforts in two directions: getting a good day’s sleep and maximizing safety when they are awake and working.

To ensure getting enough rest, the meeting tells employees to:

  • Always go to bed at the same time, preferably as soon as possible after work.
  • Sleep in a dark, quiet room. Use room-darkening shades or drapes and turn off the phone. If people or traffic noises disturb you, try using earplugs or turning on a fan that covers the noise.         
  • Eat balanced, nutritious meals. Eat only light snacks before bed. Avoid food that’s heavy, rich, or spicy. Also try to stop drinking alcohol or caffeine or smoking a few hours before going to bed.  
  • Exercise regularly, though not in the two hours before trying to sleep.    
  • Avoid sleeping pills. If you have trouble sleeping, talk with your doctor.

The second prong of minimizing shift work hazards is maximizing safety during working hours. Here, the meeting advises employees to:

  • Turn on all the lights in your work area and in hallways, stairways, bathrooms, etc.
  • Replace or report any burned out bulbs promptly.
  • Check that you have adequate task lighting. If you can’t see your equipment controls, read container labels, or have other similar problems, let your supervisor know.
  • Be sure all work areas are ventilated, and report any ventilation systems that aren’t working properly.
  • Keep temperatures comfortable. Again, if you can’t get a comfortable temperature, let a supervisor know.

That’s just a small sampling of the tips in the comprehensive meeting outline, which includes suggested discussion questions as well as a shift work checklist and quiz.

And shift work is just one of more than 400 ready-to-train meetings on more than 100 key safety topics. And, in addition to the quizzes and handouts listed above, the in-depth meeting outlines are augmented with regulations (OSHA’s CFR 29), a listing of the most common safety violations cited by OSHA, and case studies of actual OSHA cases and their outcomes.

Safety Meetings Library lets you choose from a variety of training approaches, including:

Mandatory – Sessions that are OSHA required
Comprehensive – Sessions with broadest coverage of a topic
7-Minute – Short, simple, targeted sessions to fit tight schedules
Initial – A session used as introductory training on a topic
Refresher – Sessions that follow-up on or reinforce previous training
Tool Box Talk – More informal reinforcement of a topic
PowerPoint – Graphic presentations for comprehensive initial or refresher training
Hands-on – A session in which there are training activities
Spanish – Including Spanish language handouts and quizzes coordinated with English sessions

You can get a preview of the program by using the links below. But for the best look, we suggest a no-cost, no-obligation trial. Just let us know and we’ll arrange it for you.

Download document type list
Download product sample
Download table of contents


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