The United States Bureau of Statistics has reported that approximately 15 million people in America are employed in positions that require working in shifts. Studies conducted across the world, including the United States, point to a number of risks attached to shift work. California employers may benefit from taking cognizance of such risks in order to avoid workers' compensation claims.
A series of reports by the National Safety Council states that workplace injuries due to fatigue constitute just under 15 percent of all workplace injuries. Other reports call for focused collaboration among various parties, including employers and employees, to address concerns about long-term health risks and fatigue attributed to working shifts. In a 2016 study, it was found that shift work not only disrupts the circadian rhythm but may influence a person's cardiovascular health, lead to poor-quality sleep and even influence one's mood metabolism. Other studies have found an increased propensity to obesity among shift workers, while shift-working women may have a greater risk of various cancers, such as gastrointestinal, breast and skin cancer.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has provided certain directives to employers in order to protect shift workers from some of the risks attached to their irregular work hours. These directives are aimed at assisting people working shifts to sleep the suggested eight hours a day and allowing for regular short breaks as well as extended meal breaks. It is also deemed important that employees are fully informed about what working shifts entails and the resources available to them.
All workers -- including shift workers -- are entitled to safe and healthy working conditions. Shift-working employees in California, who have suffered workplace injuries or health issues due to the nature of their work, may benefit from consulting with an experienced lawyer about the possibility of instituting a workers' compensation claim. A lawyer is in the ideal position to evaluate each individual case and provide the necessary advice.