The Working Time Regulations 1999 provide workers with certain entitlements. These include special protection for night workers who must be offered free and confidential health assessments before starting work, on a regular basis, or as appropriate to the individual. The Working Time Regulations state that a night worker is someone who normally works at least three hours at night. Night time is between 11pm and 6am, although workers and employers may agree to vary this.
The Working Time Regulations 1998 stipulate that employees working night duty must be offered a medical assessment. The offer of an assessment must be made prior to the start of the employee working night duty and at regular intervals thereafter, usually biannually.
Completion of the night worker health assessment is voluntary. The employer has to offer this to night workers, but it is not mandatory that they take up the offer. However it does enable the employee to report any health concern or medical condition that is difficult to manage or may become worse by working night time hours.
Where any concerns are raised then this information will then be reviewed by one of our Occupational Health Advisors, taking into account the type of work that will be done and the restrictions on the worker's working time under the regulations. If necessary this can then be followed up with a medical examination if doubts are raised as to the employee's fitness for night work.
Any adjustments or safer working practices can then be recommended to the employer, to ensure that the employee’s health is not being put at any risk.
Night workers medical assessments take approximately 20 minutes and includes:
- A confidential questionnaire
- Medical assessment in relation to night work
- Blood pressure & pulse
- Report, restrictions and recommendations
- Anonymous statistics
Sources of further information
- Health and Safety Executive - working time directive
- UK Government advisory note - employing people night working hours - health assessments
- Unite the Union - Shift work and night work leaflet
- Health and Safety Executive - Hints and tips for employees who work nights or shift work
- The Sleep Foundation - Tips for shift workers
If you have any questions about Night worker Health assessments under the Working Time Directive, or any other occupational health services for your business in South Wales or the South of England, don't hesitate to call us on 02920 682028 or Contact us.