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The dangers that shift work poses

Many Ohio occupations require shift work, which can have a serious impact on employees' health. According to a study on the effects of shift work, people who are consistently deprived of sleep suffer from a number of health problems, including cancer, coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke, depression, weight gain and workplace injuries and accidents. Further, when shift work employees suffer sleep deprivation, the effects are similar to alcohol intoxication.

The study found that people who begin their jobs before 6 a.m. generally awaken outside their natural circadian rhythm, which results in sleep that is hard to come out of and is not refreshing. Shift workers who sleep during the daylight tend to fall asleep quickly and do not wake up intermittently. However, they only sleep four to six hours at a time. Those who get 11 hours or fewer of time off between shifts tend to get much less sleep, too.

Shift workers are also susceptible to chronic diseases, such as ischemic strokes and myocardial infarctions. Because of a lack of sleep, they can develop obesity and type II diabetes. Another study found that breast cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer might also develop in night-shift workers, and the risk increases the longer the employee works the night shift. Shift workers are more prone to suffer a work-related injury and are at a greater risk for having a car crash when driving home after a late shift as well.

These types of injuries and illnesses could be covered by workers' compensation benefits. However, to anticipate the risk that an employer might try to challenge a claim on the basis that the accident related to factors outside of the workplace, having the assistance of an attorney at the outset of the process might be advisable.

Source: EMS 1, "Why shift work is unhealthy and dangerous", Catherine Counts, Jan. 17, 2017

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