As employees, we know that sometimes— we’re at the whim of our employers. They need someone to cover night shift, and on occasion— you have to be that person. While you are fulfilling your duties for your employer, it’s also important to acknowledge the risks that can come along with it. A night shift, or an overnight shift, present a higher risk of injury for the employee across the board. Therefore, it’s important to understand why before you take on this responsibility.
Night Shift Risks: Understanding Evening Work Injuries
When you consider what it means to pull a night shift, or overnight shift, you realize that it means long hours, labor when you normally sleep, and staying awake for long hours. You’re taking one for the team, but that puts you at risk of sustaining an injury for a number of reasons.
Chances are, if you’re picking up a night shift — then it takes time to adjust to the hours. Normally, you’d be asleep by this time, or having dinner. But, instead, you’re operating heavy machinery, doing manual labor, or even just sitting at a desk after hours. No matter the intensity of the work, you’re putting your body into unusual conditions and expecting it to perform as if this was a normal shift. However, when your body is tired— you’re at a higher risk of sustaining an injury.
More likely to make mistakes
When you’re tired, your brain isn’t working the way that it should. Therefore, you’re more likely to make small errors that can have a big effect. Take, for example, a nurse working a night shift. She has a patient who needs 50 mg of insulin. Instead, she messes up the number and orders 500 mg. Next thing you know, the patient is in shock and at risk of dying because you made a careless mistake. You’re tired, overworked, and your mind isn’t in the ER. Therefore, your patients are at risk.
In short, your body is awake, but it does not want to be
While you have taken on the task and are working without issue, your body is on high-alert. While you are able to change patterns and take on a different schedule without a second thought, your body still needs to adjust to the differences. Instead, your body is having trouble focusing, and your fine motor skills can suffer for that. Therefore, you might make those little mistakes like we mentioned above. A night shift might be something you have to do from time to time. But, make sure you prepare ahead of time, stay hydrated, and get some food and rest where possible.