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Organisational characteristics associated with shift work practices and potential opportunities for intervention: findings from a Canadian study
  1. Amy L Hall1,
  2. Andrea N Smit2,
  3. Ralph E Mistlberger2,
  4. Glenn J Landry3,
  5. Mieke Koehoorn1
  1. 1School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  2. 2Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  3. 3Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Amy L Hall, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, 2206 East Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T1Z3; amyhall{at}mail.ubc.ca

Abstract

Introduction Shift work is a common working arrangement with wide-ranging implications for worker health. Organisational determinants of shift work practices are not well characterised; such information could be used to guide evidence-based research and best practices to mitigate shift work's negative effects. This exploratory study aimed to describe and assess organisational-level determinants of shift work practices thought to affect health, across a range of industry sectors.

Methods Data on organisational characteristics, shift work scheduling, provision of shift work education materials/training to employees and night-time lighting policies in the workplace were collected during phone interviews with organisations across the Canadian province of British Columbia. Relationships between organisational characteristics and shift work practices were assessed using multivariable logistic regression models.

Results The study sample included 88 participating organisations, representing 30 700 shift workers. Long-duration shifts, provision of shift work education materials/training to employees and night-time lighting policies were reported by approximately one-third of participating organisations. Odds of long-duration shifts increased in larger workplaces and by industry. Odds of providing shift work education materials/training increased in larger workplaces, in organisations reporting concern for shift worker health and in organisations without seasonal changes in shift work. Odds of night-time lighting policies in the workplace increased in organisations reporting previous workplace accidents or incidents that occurred during non-daytime hours, site maintenance needs and client service or care needs.

Conclusions This study points to organisational determinants of shift work practices that could be useful for targeting research and workplace interventions. Results should be interpreted as preliminary in an emerging body of literature on shift work and health.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors REM, ALH, GJL and MK conceptualised the study. ALH and ANS participated in data gathering. ALH conducted data analyses. All authors contributed to designing the survey and were involved in critically reviewing and revising the manuscript.

  • Funding ALH was supported by a Canadian Institutes for Health Research Strategic Training Fellowship (The Bridge Program), WorkSafeBC's research training award programme and the University of British Columbia's 4-year fellowship programme. ANS was supported by a Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The University of British Columbia (study number H14-01588) and Simon Fraser University (study number 2014s0337).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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