New guidance to support shift workers in healthcare

Hospital staff

A significant number of staff that deliver around-the-clock care are shift workers.

Poorly designed shift patterns together with irregular sleep patterns and environmental factors can have a detrimental impact on employee health and patient outcomes. 

The Health Safety Executive reported that poorly managed shift patterns can increase sickness absence rates, presenteeism, increased at-work errors and patient safety incidents, and associated costs.

It's important to ensure that safeguards are put in place to support safe working practice around shift working. This guidance has been developed incorporating good practice on shift working from the Health Safety Executive and has been developed in partnership with trade unions and management for the benefit of healthcare organisations.

The publication contains information on:

  • how shift work can impact on health, safety and wellbeing
  • what actions employers and employees can take
  • the importance of partnership working on shift working patterns.

Download The health, safety and wellbeing of shift workers in healthcare environments

Health, Safety and Wellbeing Partnership Group

This guidance was produced by the NHS Staff Council's Health, Safety and Wellbeing Partnership Group. The overall purpose of the group is to raise standards of workplace health, safety and wellbeing in healthcare organisations and to promote a safer working environment for all healthcare staff. You can find out more about the group on our web pages.



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