Healthy Temperature for Shift Workers

Find the healthy temperature for shift work where employees are functioning around the clock.

While some 24-hour operations have little control over the temperature, for many other operations the battle over the thermostat can become a cause for disagreement and in some cases distress. 

Many shift workers feel more comfortable in a warm environment and say that keeping the temperature up helps combat the natural temperature drop our bodies experience in the overnight hours. While other people like it cool – arguing they feel more alert in cold conditions. So who’s right? 

From an alertness and productivity standpoint, scientific research tells us that you probably want to keep it relatively cool — between 20 and 22 degrees celsius. If it’s much warmer, shiftworkers are likely to become sleepy, and they’re prone to nodding off altogether during the overnight hours — as well as in the afternoon — if they’re sitting down.

 You’re better off keeping it cool and encouraging employees to wear layers they can add or remove as their body temperature fluctuates. Of course, you don’t want to make it so cold that you cause resentment among employees.

 A related issue to consider is air flow. Poor ventilation can make it difficult to maintain alertness — in addition to making the workplace unpleasant and increasing the chances that workers will transmit germs to one another.

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Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

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