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August/September 2009 (vol. 06/2)

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No raised mortality risk in shiftworkers

An 11-year study of more than 14,000 rotating shiftworkers and 17,000 day workers at the chemical company BASF found marginally lower mortality risks in the former, after accounting for age and job level. There were 414 deaths among the shift workers and 463 among day workers during the study period. Since 1983, the company had been providing additional benefits for shiftworkers, including routine medical examinations and health promotion, and the findings suggest that these may have helped mitigate the long-term health consequences of shiftwork. Shiftworkers had taken part in twice as many medical examinations and twice as many health seminars as day workers, and this greater level of surveillance may explain their raised incidences of diagnosed obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other conditions; though the effect of shiftwork itself could not be ruled out.

Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health 2009; 35(4): 309–318. http://www.sjweh.fi/show_abstract.php?abstract_id=1332

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Occupational Health at Work August/September 2009 (vol. 06/2) pp40