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Shift work can be risky and harmful to one's health

Shift work can pose serious dangers to Kentucky residents who have occupations in the health care industry, at grocery stores, fire stations, in facilities that house people 24 hours a day or where there is need for employees to keep an operation continuously running. A lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems, according to a comprehensive review on shift work.

The review found that shift workers are vulnerable to occupational accidents and health problems, such as depression, obesity, stroke, coronary heart disease and type II diabetes. Shift work has an impact on both the length and quality of sleep, indicated by how fast people fall asleep and remain sleeping.

In fact, work-related injuries, depression, type II diabetes, coronary heart disease and sometimes mortality are connected to poor sleep quality. Further, a lack of sleep affects a person just as if they were intoxicated.

Shift workers who begin working before 6 a.m. generally do not experience a refreshing sleep, and while some workers may be able to sleep soundly during the day, they usually only sleep for four to six. The study also found that the type of shift workers who get eight hours of sleep with the least amount of sleep disturbances are those who work during evening shifts.

Shift workers with rotating schedules are more likely to suffer the negative impact from shift work, as long as they work at least four shifts in a row and then switch shifts or take time off. Shift workers also commonly suffer from sleep disorder.

Employees who are suffer a workplace injury while engaged in their work-related duties may exercise their right to file for workers' compensation. If the worker's injuries were due to the gross negligence on the part of an employer, the employee might want to speak with an attorney about how to seek additional compensation.

Source: EMS 1, "Why shift work is unhealthy and dangerous", Catherine Counts, Jan. 17, 2017

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