17th Sep, 2019 Read time 2 minutes

How to manage night shift workers from a HSE perspective

The times and manner in which your employees complete your work are a crucial part of the health and safety practices in the workplace. Managing night shift workers is another issue entirely, and employers should be aware of the laws and guidelines if they are asking employees to work through the night.

This article talks you through the key points to remember in regards to managing night shift workers safely from a health and safety perspective.


How do I know whether to class my employees as night shift workers?

Night shift work typically occurs if a portion of the hours worked fall between 11pm and 6am. More specifically, there has to be 3 hours worked within this period covering a 17 week period.

By law, you cannot force employees to work more than an average of eight hours during the night in 24 hours. This period can be extended up to 52 weeks if it is agreed upon by both the employer and employee.

Following these rules is critical as they are put in place to promote good health and safety in the workplace.


Best practice tips to follow for good night shift health and safety management

Night shift work can have an impact on the health of employees and not only is this dangerous from a health and safety perspective, it can also have an impact on your workers productivity.

  • Employers must keep a record of their night shift hours for at least 2 years to prove that their workers are following the regulations
  • Encourage your employees to take regular breaks during night shifts. This will help to combat the effects fatigue have during night shifts
  • Some praise the use of artificial light to help regulate workers internal body clock.


What are the rules around sleep in workers?

Sleep in work is regulated slightly differently from regular night shift work. Sleep-in workers are entitled to the minimum wage for the duration of their shift if they are going to be working for the majority of it. However, if they are likely to sleep for most of the shift they are only entitled to the minimum wage when they are performing their duties.

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