Paper: Shift work trends and risk of injury among Canadian workers

Author(s) and Affiliation(s):
Imelda S. Wong, University of British Columbia, School of Environmental Health
Christopher B. McLeod, University of British Columbia, College for Interdisciplinary Studies
Paul A. Demers, University of British Columbia, School of Environmental Health
Day/Time: Friday at 13:30
Room: St. David Room, 3rd Floor

Working outside of regular daytime hours has raised concerns about fatigue and the increased risk of accidents or injuries. Due to added demands from work-life imbalances, women working non-daytime hours may have an elevated risk of injury.

The objectives of this study were to examine the trends in shift work and workers’ compensation claims in Canada; the risk for injury across shift work types; and to determine if there is a difference in risk between men and women.


This study used responses from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, a survey administered by Statistics Canada. Cross-sectional data from 1996 to 2006 were used to develop trends in shiftwork populations and receipt of workers’ compensation. Logistic regression models were developed using 2006 cross-sectional data to examine whether shiftwork was associated with the likelihood of receiving workers’ compensation after adjusting for potential confounders (e.g. demographics, socioeconomic status, occupational physical demands and work stability and geography). Stratified analysis was conducted to examine if gender was an effect modifier.


Growth in the workforce population was primarily among non-regular daytime workers (regular night shifts 30%, rotating 43%). In comparison to men, the number of women in night and rotating shift work almost doubled.

Compensation claims have decreased among the workforce as a whole (-27.9%). However, there was little change among night shift workers (-2.0%) and an increase among women working night shifts (5.3%).

Results of the logistic regression model showed there is a higher risk of injury among night (OR 1.92, 95% CI: 1.34, 2.73) and rotating shift workers (OR 1.48, 95% CI: 1.12, 1.97). The risk was higher among women in regular night shift work (OR 2.04, 95% CI: 1.13, 3.69) and rotating shift work (OR 2.29, 95% CI: 1.37, 3.82) than in the overall model and among men.


Among women in night shift work, the combined effect of increasing numbers, rising trend in workers’ compensation claims and a higher risk of injury in comparison to men in night shift work, suggest that additional occupational health and safety policies and programs should be focused on this portion of the workforce to reduce the risk of injuries.