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October/November 2018 (vol. 15/3)

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Sleep, work and ill health, part-2

Part 2: general effects of shiftwork


In the second of a series on the occupational implications of sleep disorders, occupational physician Roger Cooke examines the health effects of shiftwork.

The requirement for work patterns dictated by factors other than circadian rhythms is manifest by longer working hours and the widespread use of shift working. shiftwork may be defined loosely as ‘work activity scheduled outside standard daytime hours’. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is more precise in its description but notes that there is no specific definition of shiftwork in law. The HSE says shiftwork ‘is usually taken to mean a work activity scheduled outside standard daytime hours1, where there may be a handover of duty from one individual or work group to another; [and] a pattern…


Roger Cooke is a consultant in occupational medicine and honorary senior lecturer at the Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of Birmingham.

Author: Cooke R


Occupational Health at Work October/November 2018 (vol. 15/3) pp36-38

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