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Health effects of different shift work arrangements in the petroleum- and health care sector

Understanding the health and safety effect of work schedules is important because an increasing number of people work outside standard working hours. Different working hours and an increased demand for flexible working hours are especially important in occupations characterized by traditional rotation schemes, as in the health care and petroleum sector.

Health effects of different shift work arrangements in the petroleum- and health care sector
Health effects of different shift work arrangements in the petroleum- and health care sector. Photo: Colourbox

In this project, a multi-disciplinary research team will build new knowledge on the interaction between shift-work, working environment and health outcomes in the petroleum- and health care sector and how to transfer this knowledge between these sectors. Together with the project partners we will identify measures that can promote health and safety amongst shift workers across sectors. The experimental approach is to implement petroleum work schedules for a group of health care personnel and measure the outcome. A truly multidisciplinary approach, combining quantitative and qualitative analyses and methods will be used to perform a comparison between sectors and between categories of workers.

The project will investigate the interaction of long-term health effects by utilizing information from available public registers combined with new survey data to identify similarity and dissimilarity between shift workers in petroleum and health care sector, thus providing new knowledge about shift-work related factors that might affect health and sick leave. Furthermore, the project will provide a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms leading to musculoskeletal disorders, fatigue and reduced cognitive performance and how this relates to shift-work and working environment. Both the individual, organizational and situational differences between sectors will be analyzed and the results will be used in a preventive perspective to give input to future interventions and how the knowledge can be transferred from the petroleum to/from the health care sector. The results from this project is expected to add new knowledge on how the interaction between social, workplace related and individual factors are linked to both desired and undesired health outcomes of shift work. Some health outcomes might be superior and possible to transfer between sectors, while others might be more sectors specific.

The project will contribute to define health and safety promoting actions for the different types of shift work in the petroleum and health care sector. This will have importance for increased efficiency, safety and productivity in both sectors. The project represents a totally new approach that will be of high importance for especially the health care sector.

Key Factors

Project duration

15/08/2014 - 31/12/2020