Shift work: definition, effects and prevention

Shift work: definition

The law does not define shift work, it is a European directive of November 4 2003, relating to the organization of working time, which gives a definition. Shift work, also called work in successive alternating shifts, corresponds to any mode of organization of team work according to which workers are successively occupied on the same workstations, according to a certain rhythm, including rotating, of the continuous type. or discontinuous, implying for workers the obligation to perform work at different times over a given period of days or weeks.

Shift work can, for example, take the form of an organization such as 3×8, 2×8 or even 2x . During a period, each team changes its time slot either weekly or monthly, for example.

Please note : shift work generally includes a period of night work .

>> Our service – Find the professional training that will boost or reorient your career thanks to our specialized search engine (Commercial, Management, Project management, Languages, Health …) and get in touch with an advisor to guide you in your choice

Effects of shift work

Atypical working hours and the organization of shift work have repercussions on workers’ health. Thus, the main effects of this organization of working time are as follows:

Fatigue or drowsiness. sleep disorders which generate significant risks of work or travel accident. Anxiety, depression or even a decrease in performance. Cardio-vascular and gastrointestinal risks (overweight, hypertension, musculoskeletal disorders, etc.) Metabolic imbalances. Adverse effects on social and personal life such as social isolation or significant discrepancies with family life). Shift work nevertheless has certain advantages for the employee. Indeed, he has salary compensation and more free time during the day. If he works at night, the employee benefits from compensatory rest or a salary increase. In addition, some collective agreements provide for team bonuses or salary compensation for employees subject to shift work.

Shift work: preventive measures

Given their obligations to protect the health and safety of employees, employers must put in place preventive measures to limit the harmful effects of shift work. As such, the employer can:

workstations to take into account the specifics of shift work. Update provision for employees a rest room as well as a room suitable for taking meals. Suggest modes of transport to avoid commuting accidents. Provide sufficient break time to allow employees to rest. Maintain regular job rotation. Pay particular attention to working hours taking up a position to limit the harmful consequences on sleep, family life and meals. Take into account the family constraints of each employee. Set up awareness campaigns on a healthy lifestyle. Limit as much as possible the period during which an employee is forced to submit to this organization of working time. Opt for volunteering and, as far as possible, promote a return to standard hours for employees who request it. >> To read also – Time range: definition, duration and penalties

Note : no specific medical monitoring is provided for workers subject to shift work. However, special rules apply for employees working at night such as regular monitoring of their state of health.

Receive our latest news Employment, management, rights, every week news of your career .