What You Should Know About Shift Work Disorder - Workers Comp Attorneys St. Louis

by James M. Hoffmann on Jun. 30, 2016

Employment Workers' Compensation Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Personal Injury 

Summary: June is the National Safety Month. One of the issues that National Safety Council has highlighted is the adverse health risks associated with shift work- truck drivers, doctors, nurses, police officers and others who work outside the 9-5 shift.

While shift work is critical to keeping some vital systems such as hospitals and law enforcement running, the hours that shift workers have to put in often takes a toll on their health. In this post, our St. Louis injured at work lawyer will discuss some ways in which Shift Work Disorder and other health problems can be prevented.

Cause of health problems associated with shift work

The key cause of health problems associated with shift work is the disruption in the circadian rhythm, the internal clock that sends signals to various body parts, and affects things such as the release of hormones, digestion, body temperature and much more. In order to regulate these processes, the circadian rhythm tells the body when it is time to sleep and when to stay alert. This rhythm gets disrupted when the shift workers stay awake when they should actually be sleeping, and they are trying to rest when it is time to be up and active. This makes it difficult for them to get sound sleep, eventually leading to chronic sleepiness and fatigue.

The problem becomes worse due to the fact that shifts work in rotation so the schedule never stays consistent and the body is not able to realign the clock into a routine that it recognizes. Prolonged disruption of this kind can lead to Shift Work Disorder.

Shift Work Disorder can have serious consequences

Shift Work Disorder manifests itself as insomnia when the worker needs to be sleeping, and sleepiness when the worker needs to be alert. Workers who suffer from Shift Work Disorder may not get sound sleep, which can cause problems such as lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty with relationships, and increased irritability. This can have severe effects, because the shift workers such as police officers, doctors and truck drivers have huge responsibilities and need quick decision making and prolonged concentration. The problems associated with Shift Work Disorder can increase the chances of a workplace accident.

Apart from Shift Work Disorder, workers may also develop health problems such an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and severe stroke.

How to avoid these complications

There is no simple way to prevent all adverse effects of shift work, however, there are certain things that the shift worker can do to make sure he/she gets required sleep. The CDC recommends that the worker should set aside a reasonable amount of time to sleep in a comfortable place once the shift is over. They also recommend avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and heavy foods a few hours before going to sleep. Finally, the workers should try to get regular exercise as it can help manage stress and get sound sleep.

If you have developed an illness because of your work or the work environment, you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits. Speak to an experienced St Louis worker compensation Lawyer at the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann to learn more about your rights. Call (314) 361-4300 for a free case evaluation.

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