Jun 28, 2008

Managing the work environment to help shiftworkers maintain alertness

General ergonomic considerations are even more important in a shiftwork environment to minimize anything that might increase fatigue. While general ergonomics are beyond the scope of this article, lighting and temperature are not.

Bright lighting enhances alertness. You should increase lighting levels as high as 400 to 1,000 lux. The challenge is to increase the lighting level without raising glare to unacceptable levels. When glare becomes too great people turn off the lights, so it is worth bringing in a lighting consultant to assist with this effort.

Cool temperatures also increase alertness, so it is important to keep the work environment from getting hot or stuffy. To the extent possible, keep the air moving and keep it at 65 to 68 degrees. To maintain alertness it is important to keep your head and neck area at this temperature. If employees are cool, sweaters, sweatshirts, or space heaters may help.

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