How to keep night workers safe

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Whether some or all your employees work night shifts, their safety is your responsibility.

While some of the most specific risks vary across sectors, there are some non-negotiable measures to put in place. You must ensure that your staff remain comfortable and productive throughout the night, take their breaks as required, and feel well enough to work.

Whether you’re new to management or you’ve taken on another team, it’s worth knowing how to protect your night staff properly.

Keeping night shift workers safe: Our top tips

  1. Allocate shifts with care

When you’re building the rota, it’s important to schedule sensitively.

Avoid giving excessively long hours or consecutive shifts to just a few employees: instead, try to balance the expectations and workload. It’s your responsibility to follow legal guidelines for night working. This includes making sure that night staff do not work more than an average of 8 hours in any 24-hour period.

Remember, your staff work best when they’re happy and healthy. Allowing sufficient time for rest and recuperation – and most importantly, sleep – means that your team will return to work feeling ready to achieve.

  1. Install appropriate lighting

Lighting plays a critical role in helping your team complete their tasks safely and effectively. Without natural light, you must ensure that working areas are sufficiently lit. This helps to keep your employees alert, draws attention to any hazards, and enables close-up focus.

If your staff are frequently required to work in areas without electricity, torches from suppliers like RS make a crucial addition to your toolkit.  Handheld lighting not only removes the need to transport heavy equipment but gives your team more peace of mind and confidence on-shift.

  1. Distribute correct PPE

For employees who work on busy construction sites or outdoors in any other setting, they need to be visible to drivers, pedestrians and other road users.

High-visibility clothing is one of the most essential precautions for roadside work and protecting worker safety. When you decide on the PPE supplied to your staff, you should include high-visibility, weatherproof clothing. Outerwear, including gloves and reinforced footwear, also helps to protect your team.

  1. Take fatigue seriously

Lastly, it’s important to remember that tiredness can have detrimental effects on a worker’s health and productivity. With mounting evidence to suggest that even one night without sleep can cause impaired thinking, it’s important to be cautious.

Setting up a well-lit and energised environment can help to fight off fatigue overnight. If your premises has a licence to play music, it’s worth keeping the radio on or allowing your team to listen to their favourite music on the speakers.

Try to plan worker tasks effectively, asking for the most physically and mentally demanding tasks to be completed at times when workers are most alert. Scheduling work around fatigue is the most sensible and empathetic approach.

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