Shift work and health

Shift work—essentially anything other than a regular daytime work schedule—makes up a large part of the Canadian economy. It includes permanent evening or night work, rotating shifts and split shifts. IWH research explores the effects of shift work on the health and safety of workers, and what can be done to decrease these effects.

Journal article
Journal article

The impact of night shift work on breast cancer: results from the Burden of Occupational Cancer in Canada Study

Published: American Journal of Industrial Medicine, June 2019
Silhouette of a worker in a darkened hallway
At Work article

Injured shift workers report poorer health outcomes than injured day workers: study

An IWH study finds injured workers who work shifts are no more likely to leave their jobs than injured workers who work standard shifts, despite being in poorer health.
Published: November 2015
Ottawa Citizen logo
IWH in the media

Adequate rest and recovery critical to help workers avoid burnout

Experts say significant stretches of overtime without adequate time for recovery result in diminished work performance and pose potentially serious health risks. The Institute for Work & Health (IWH)'s Dr. Cameron Mustard comments on risks of mistakes and fatigue
Published: The Ottawa Citizen, September 2015
Exterior shot of office buildings at night
At Work article

Risk of work injury linked to night, evening shifts still high after switching to days

IWH study finds those who move into or out of shift work face the highest risks of work-related injury
Published: November 2014
The Guardian logo
IWH in the media

Will shift work age my brain?

There is plenty of evidence that it harms health, but a new report claims that 10 years of shift work ages your brain by an extra 6.5 years. So should you be worried? asks Luisa Dillner in an article that cites Institute for Work & Health.
Published: The Guardian, November 2014
At Work article
At Work article

Night and evening shifts linked to higher risk of injuries: study

Higher injury rates found across age, sex and job type in rare study looking at risk levels by time of day
Published: July 2013
At Work article
At Work article

Female nurses working nights weigh [slightly] more than those working days

Body mass index scores are slightly higher among female nurses working night shifts (or a mix of day, evening and night shifts) than among those working regular day shifts, according to a recent study from the Institute for Work & Health. But we don’t yet know if this difference is important.
Published: April 2013
IWH Speaker Series
IWH Speaker Series

Work injury risk by time of day in Ontario

In this presentation, Cam Mustard and Andrea Chambers provide a summary of the preliminary findings of a study that examined the incidence of work-related injury and illness in the Ontario labour force across the 24-hour clock. They also review the study methods. Two data sources were used (WSIB lost-time claims and records of non-scheduled visits to Ontario emergency departments), while information on hours worked was obtained from Statistics Canada sources.
Published: October 2011
At Work article
At Work article

Are those who work shifts more at risk of work injury?

The number of Canadians working shifts other than a regular daytime schedule is on the rise. A new study suggests that those who work night or rotating shifts are more at risk of getting injured on the job.
Published: February 2011
Office worker and cleaner during evening shift
Issue Briefing

Shift work and health

Shift work — employment with anything other than a regular daytime work schedule — makes up a large part of work in the Canadian economy. For at least 50 years, researchers have been exploring the question of whether working shifts poses a health hazard. This briefing summarizes the findings of a selection of this research, including several review articles.
Published: April 2010