When the sun goes down, workers still show up to do their jobs.
Working conditions might seem like they wouldn’t change much from morning to evening shifts, but working after dark does present different challenges and risks.
Here are a few ideas on how to make sure your second- and third-shift workers stay safe on the job at any time of the night or later night.
Watch for Shift-Work Disorder.
People are typically biologically inclined to sleep at night and be awake during the daytime. Those who work into the evening or overnight might show symptoms of Shift-Work Disorder, a sleep disorder caused by working opposite hours from when the body wants to sleep. Symptoms include difficulty staying awake at work, lack of energy, irritability, depression, problems with personal relationships, and being excessively sleepy while on the job. Any or all of these could cause workers to be distracted or unable to be as careful as they should, especially if they work with heavy machinery.
Reminder your employees about the importance of good sleep.
Without it, workers are prone to paying less attention to safety than they should. Being groggy clouds a person’s judgment and their ability to properly assess risk. Driving machinery when sleepy can create a high-risk environment in which people can be hurt, and property can be damaged or destroyed. Encourage your employees who often work overnight to establish a good sleep pattern in their off-hours to ensure they get enough rest, in a dark and quiet room, before coming in.
Post tips about restorative sleep.
It’s one thing to know that sleep is important; it’s another to know how to get it when people are trying to sleep when the sun is out. Among other things to remind your employees:
- Too much caffeine late in the day or evening can disrupt their sleep even hours later.
- Taking a 20-30 minute nap between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., if possible, can recharge batteries and keep people alert overnight.
- Avoid watching TV or spending too much time on a cell phone around an hour before going to sleep.
Encourage healthy eating.
While it might not seem directly as important as sleep, eating a healthy diet and nutritious foods can be just as important for workers who spend their evenings on the job. Proper nutrition can help people stay focused and keep them energized throughout their shift; healthy meals and snacks can keep their metabolism running strong and their energy levels up when the rest of the world is asleep. Don’t forget to make it easy for them to drink plenty of water too, as that can help keep their batteries charged.
Consistency is key.
If you have swing-shift workers, keep their schedules as steady and unchanging as possible. Going from a morning shift to an afternoon or evening shift is disruptive enough; alternating that schedule or deviating from it can wreak havoc on a person’s sleep and overall well-being. Try to cluster overnight schedules so a sleep pattern can be established and the change isn’t as sudden if possible.
Keep the bright lights on during overnight hours to mimic sunlight and encourage the use of music and conversation between employees to keep their minds focused and engaged. They might not become fully-fledged night owls, but every little bit helps!
If you’re looking for new team members for any time of day, call Debbie’s Staffing. We have ambitious workers looking to help a company like yours, and they’re eager to get to work. Call us today, and let’s get started!