Some considerations about aging, shift work and work ability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Aging people often show a reduced tolerance to shift and night work related to (a) chronobiological factors (weakening of the circadian system, earlier phasing of circadian rhythms); (b) psycho-physical conditions (physical fitness, sleep efficiency, intervening illnesses); (c) social conditions (housing, commuting, social integration); (d) working conditions (work load, specific task, stress and fatigue, human relations). According to our surveys in different work sectors, shift workers appear to have lower WAI than day workers in all decades, but more pronounced in the older ones. However, it is not easy to distinguish the influence of the different factors as aging and shift work seniority usually are strictly correlated, and, on the other hand, the "healthy worker effect" becomes more evident with increasing age and years spent on shift work. Managers, ergonomists and occupational health physicians should be aware of these aspects and should consider aging workers as more vulnerable subjects in relation to shift and night work, and protect them by arranging shift schedules according to ergonomic criteria and adopting specific supporting measures for aging workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-72
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Congress Series
Volume1280
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Night work
  • Shift work
  • Tolerance
  • Work ability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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