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Organisational characteristics associated with shift work practices and potential opportunities for intervention: findings from a Canadian study


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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