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April/May 2014 (vol. 10/6)

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Research Plus

Offshore shift work

Workers in the offshore oil industry are able to adapt fully to nightshift work within one to two weeks, according to this systematic review (29 studies); however, re-adaptation to daytime shifts is slower. There is inconsistent evidence on sleep quality and duration, though most studies show that dayshift workers reported better and longer sleep, and fewer sleep problems (eg staying asleep or fragmented sleep) compared with nightshift workers. Three studies found no evidence for slower reaction times among night workers. There was insufficient evidence to justify conclusions on the impact of shiftwork on physical and mental health – findings on the impact of offshore shiftwork as a risk factor for poor mental health, higher body mass index and increased risk of work-related accidents were inconsistent. Longitudinal studies to investigate long-term outcomes are needed.

Effects of Shift and Night Work in the Offshore Petroleum Industry: A Systematic Review [PDF]. Industrial Health 2013; 51(5): 530–544

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Occupational Health at Work April/May 2014 (vol. 10/6) pp18