Irregularity of working hours in railway workers and types of complaints

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1994;65(6):367-71. doi: 10.1007/BF00383245.


Seventy-three permanent morning workers, 33 three-shift workers and 43 workers with irregular working schedules (roster) filled out a questionnaire on sleep, well-being and health complaints. The frequency of sick leave tended to be smaller in workers in the roster group. However, in this group health was rated "poor" more often; digestive, respiratory, osteoarticular and nervous symptoms as well as sleep difficulties were more frequently reported. In the day work and shift group, ratings of sleep quality were higher on days of rest than on working days but not in the roster group. This suggests that a worker does not at present get enough non-work days for a complete short-term recovery. In contrast, the length of sleep reported did not differ among groups. The gap between the subjective assessment of health and the actual frequency of sick leave corresponded with the irregularity of the working schedule.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / etiology
  • Railroads*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Somatoform Disorders / etiology
  • Spain
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology
  • Work Schedule Tolerance*