By questioning night work for its negative effects on health, the report published by SenSA highlights the “proven” health impacts of shift work, apart from its effects on social and family life.
3.5 million people work at night
For the first time, a health security agency examined all the health risks linked to night work, in the short and long term. And the conclusions of the SenSA report, the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety, are alarming: the risks of sleep disorders and metabolic disorders are described as “proven”.
The report even considers the risks of cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mental disorders to be “probable”.
Commissioned by the CFTC, the French Confederation of Christian Workers, this study reviewed, for four years, all of the recent existing scientific data on night work, defined by the Labor Code as accomplished between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
In 2012, 3.5 million people were affected, occasionally or regularly, or 15.4% of employees in France, an increase of more than a million people since 1991. This represents 21.5% of male employees and 9.3% of women, mainly in the tertiary sector.
At the forefront: vehicle drivers, soldiers and police, nurses and nursing assistants, skilled workers in the food, chemicals, pharmacy.
Cascading health impacts
Beyond its influence on social and family life, shifted work causes disturbances in biological rhythms, in particular a desynchronization between circadian rhythms set on a day schedule and the cycle of night work, resulting in disorders of the sleep, drowsiness and metabolic syndrome caused by negative effects on the internal clock of the human brain.
SenSA recommends limiting the use of night work and properly assessing its social costs. Shift work is often an obligation to close the budget in many households, they have every interest in minimizing tensions in their homes, such as debt stress which can be reduced by the repurchase of credits, or hygiene of life including moments of true relaxation.