Employee Schedules That Reduce Potential Night Shift Cancer Risk - A Core Practice Partners Exclusive
Night shift cancer studies are being released from countries around the world. Most of this research is pointing to a link between night shift, or graveyard shift as it is sometimes called, and breast and colon cancer. Although reasons for elevated cancer levels in those working nights may have more to do with diet and exercise, the studies are shining a bright light on the health risks associated with shift work.
According to Senior Partner John Frehse, “The studies on night shift have accelerated acceptance of what we already know. The fear of cancer is causing employers to take action now rather than waiting for the United States to confirm that night shift is indeed a cause for cancer. There is not one silver bullet that makes working a night shift unhealthy, but rather a list of over 100 factors that when combined create a debilitating experience for employees.”
To fight this health crisis, Core Practice Partners has created shift schedules that minimize exposure to working between the hours of 10pm and 6am, the most common hours shift workers would be sleeping if they weren’t working. On traditional 8 hour night shifts employee typically work between 10pm and 6am or 11pm to 7am. This accounts for 5 night shifts each week. Alternatives can bring night shift exposure down 30% without hurting the required business coverage in companies demanding maximum capital utilization.
Alternative schedules are only part of the solution. According to Core Practice Partners exercise, nutrition, and sleep strategies are also critical pieces of the equation. 64 ounce sodas and fast food burgers are common dietary staples of the night shift employee. Few options exist during the night shift hours and the 24 hour drive thru may be the most convenient. Coming off of night shifts, employees are typically exhausted but struggle to find quality sleep. Little education is provided for night shift employees on sleep strategies to improve their quality of life. With the exhaustion associated with poor diet and little sleep, exercise is an unlikely activity for the night shift worker.
The announcement by Core Practice Partners that a holistic approach is now available to improve the quality of life of the shift worker while not adversely impacting the business breaks new ground for companies that want the best for their employees but have aggressive goals for top and bottom line performance.