Absenteeism of shift and day workers. A study of six types of shift system in 29 organizations

Br J Ind Med. 1972 Apr;29(2):208-13. doi: 10.1136/oem.29.2.208.


Taylor, P. J., Pocock, S. J., and Sergean, R. (1972).Brit. J. industr. Med.,29, 208-213. Absenteeism of shift and day workers. Previous evidence on the effects of shift work upon absence behaviour is conflicting, this being due in part to the variety of shift systems in use. A study is described in which absence records over two years were obtained for 965 matched pairs of shift and day workers from 29 organizations. Six types of shift system were involved, providing comprehensive coverage of shift work in the United Kingdom. Matching was achieved for sex, age, workplace, and occupation. Absence records included certified sickness, short sickness, and non-medical absence.

The overall results showed that shift workers had less absence of all three types than their colleagues on day work, this difference being most marked in the numbers of men having several episodes. No significant differences were found in the diagnostic pattern of certified absence. Comparisons between day work and each of the six types of shift work did not provide any definite conclusions as to their relative merits as far as absence is concerned. The results from the different organizations were not wholly consistent, but a substantial majority followed the general trend.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Male
  • Occupational Medicine*
  • Peptic Ulcer / epidemiology
  • Time Factors