Seeing the Light: How to Minimize the Health Impacts of Shiftwork

The Conference Board of Canada, September 15, 2015
Recorded Webinar
(You must be signed in and entitled to rate this report)

9–5 is the typical day for a Canadian worker, but a significant percentage of Canada’s working population works regular night or rotating shifts, regular evening shifts, split shifts, or are working on call or with irregular schedules. Shiftwork does have its benefits: for example, it can be better paid, can be more convenient for childcare, and can allow workers to pursue other hobbies or family activities.

Yet despite these social benefits, shiftwork has numerous negative impacts on the human body, including sleep disruption, lifestyle disturbance, exposure to less sunshine, and exposure to light at night. There are also other less obvious impacts of shiftwork, including the suppression of melatonin, disruption of diet and physical activity, and decrease in vitamin D. Shiftwork can also impact the workplace itself, potentially leading to increased injury rates, absences due to illness, and mental health issues such as depression, stress, or disrupted work-life balance. But in a global, 24 hour business world, shift work is here to stay. So what can be done to minimize it’s negative impact on both employees and employers?

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified shiftwork, and its correlation with circadian disruption, as probably carcinogenic, or having the potential to cause cancer. In this webinar, Dr. Paul A. Demers will explain the major arguments that justified this stance. Paul will present the scientific evidence, and will examine recent studies that have shed light on the association between shiftwork and different types of cancer, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and others.

Webinar Highlights

Despite these disturbing findings, there are various initiatives that can be put in place to minimize the health effects of shiftwork on workers and the workplace. Dr. Demers will provide practical advice, focusing on potential interventions that may reduce the impact of shiftwork on health, including changes in scheduling, controlled exposure to light and dark, individual and employer behavioural changes, and more.

During this 60 minute webinar, you will learn about:

  • the body’s circadian rhythms, and how shiftwork affects them.
  • the major arguments that justified the classification of shiftwork with circadian disruption as probably carcinogenic.
  • recent studies that have examined the relationship between shift work and different types of cancer.
  • potential workplace interventions that can reduce the impact of shiftwork on worker health.

About Paul

Photo of Paul DemersDr. Paul A. Demers is Director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC) and a Professor with the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Prior to joining the OCRC, Paul was a Professor at the University of British Columbia in the School of Environmental Health. He is internationally recognized for his expertise on the health effects of workplace exposures and sits on many expert panels, including the International Agency for Research on Cancer working groups. Paul has extensive research experience and accomplishments, including his leadership of the national program “CAREX Canada,” a workplace and environmental exposure database. Throughout his academic career, Paul has held numerous research grants, supervised many graduate students and published extensively. Paul has an MSc in Industrial Hygiene and a PhD in Epidemiology, both from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Maintenance of Certification
Attendance at this program entitles certified Canadian College of Health Leaders members (CHE / Fellow) to .5 Category II credits towards their maintenance of certification requirement.

Access Webinar

(you will be asked to sign-in)

To see if you are entitled to get this research for free, take a minute and create a free e-Library account. This will let us determine if someone else at your organization has already purchased access to this material.