Shift Work and Traffic Accidents among Nursing Personnel

Background: Shift work disrupts the normal circadian rhythms, affecting shift workers both physically and mentally, leading to increased risk of occupational and personal accidents. Nursing personnel are exposed regularly and for prolonged periods to shift work and are therefore considered to be a high-risk group. Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of shift work on traffic accidents among nursing personnel, while commuting to and from their workplace. Method: This survey followed a retrospective cohort study design and was conducted during June and July 2009. The final sample included 163 employees of a large general hospital of Thessaloniki city (response rate 74%); 103 were shift working nursing personnel (rotators) and 60 nursing personnel and administration clerks, working only morning shift. Data were collected with the use of a questionnaire. Cohen’s kappa coefficient ranged from 0.9-1 for all items. Analysis included Fisher’s exact test and Binary Logistic regression, using SPSS 15.0. All hypotheses were tested for a significance level of p<0.05. Results: Shift working personnel had a 30% higher risk of traffic accidents while commuting to and from the workplace, compared to morning only employees (OR: 1.29, 95% CI: 0.49-3.37, p=0.271). This risk almost quadrupled for the workplace to home journey, for the last reported year (OR: 3.82, 95% CI: 0.83-17.71, p=0.086). Rotators reported most accidents after the morning and night shifts. The main contributing factors reported included lack of concentration, fatigue and sleepiness. Rotators also reported more accidents compared to morning shift only nursing personnel (p=0.794). Conclusions: This study suggests that shift work may increase sleep related accidents among nursing personnel. Therefore, shift work may constitute a risk factor for road safety, not only for the nursing personnel but also for the general population. The nursing administration should consider clockwise shift scheduling, so that minimal circadian rhythm disruption is induced.

Category: Volume 49, N 3
Hits: 447 Hits
Created Date: 15-09-2010
Authors: Maria Gkrizioti , Athanasios Mastrokostas , Αnna-Bettina Haiditch , Efharis Panagopoulou , Alexios Benos