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Shift work

Last updated February 2020

This chapter outlines the health and safety risks to shift workers, and explains the steps you and your workers should take to minimise them.

What are the risks associated with shift work

Definition: Shift Work

Shift work involves rostered work periods of between 6–12 hours. Shift work can be rostered at any time of the day or week to extend or maintain business operations.

The main risks associated with shift work are in relation to shift workers:

  • managing handovers poorly;
  • suffering negative health effects due to a disrupted circadian rhythm; and
  • suffering from fatigue.
Important: Provide your shift workers sufficient supervision during their shifts. Managers and supervisors should be trained in how to identify hazards and risks, including a fatigued worker. Have managers follow up with shift workers to assess any issues that arise during shifts, and to ensure that steps are taken to address them.