8 Tips For Safer Shiftwork

For workers whose body clocks are constantly disrupted due to irregular work schedules, drowsiness on the job can be a major safety issue.

Reduced concentration, decreased motivation, and slower reaction times that often accompany shiftwork can add up to both a potential loss of productivity and an increased risk of accidents and injuries during nontraditional working hours.

The risk is particularly significant in safety-critical positions that involve operating machinery, driving, or other tasks requiring alertness.

Here are eight safety tips to make sure “third shift” doesn’t translate to “three times the accidents”:

  • Allow employees to take scheduled breaks to walk around and do some light stretches to keep energy levels high.
  • Make sure workers take extra safety precautions while working an irregular shift to account for a possible lack of alertness.
  • Workers should avoid operating heavy machinery, driving, or handling hazardous materials if they become drowsy and notify a supervisor if they feel they aren’t sufficiently alert to perform a task safely.
  • Those who supervise shift workers should try to assign a variety of tasks to help workers remain alert and attentive.

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Make sure the workplace is well-lit, heated or cooled to a comfortable temperature, and properly ventilated.

  • Make sure the workplace is well-lit, heated or cooled to a comfortable temperature, and properly ventilated.
  • Caffeine can increase alertness temporarily, but it’s not a substitute for sleep. Make sure workers understand this and aren’t relying solely on coffee to keep going.
  • Encourage employees to eat a nutritious, balanced diet and exercise regularly. To make this easier for workers whose schedules can make healthy living difficult, employers might try providing healthy snacks and a space for employees to exercise during breaks.
  • Outside of work, employees should set a sleeping schedule and adhere to it to minimize disruptions to their circadian rhythms.

Keep Your Workers Safe

Whether they are shiftworkers or day workers, it’s your responsibility to keep employees safe. And the information you need to do that critical job is available 24/7, at

Whether it’s safety tips for shiftworkers like the ones you’ve just read, OSHA regulation and enforcement news, or information about safety and health issues important to your workplace, you’ll find it all reported and interpreted for you by our safety experts at

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