Industrial shift systems

Appl Ergon. 1998 Aug;29(4):273-80. doi: 10.1016/s0003-6870(97)00059-8.


This technical report describes the identification of shift systems worked by industrial shiftworkers in England, Scotland and Wales. A diverse range of shift systems were reported to be in operation across 27 industrial sectors. Companies employed up to 14 different shift systems at a particular site. The numbers of shiftworkers on a given shift schedule ranged from 1 to 2977. Most systems employed fewer than 100 people. The majority of rotas were regular, rotating systems. The most common shift durations were 8 or 12 h. Compared to earlier surveys of shiftwork prevalence in certain industries there appeared to be a substantial increase over the past 3 decades in the proportion of the workforce who work shifts. Information about the average numbers of hours worked per week on major system types is given. In addition, data for the range of shifts per cycle, the distribution of shifts and distributions of their start and end times are presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Occupational Health*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling* / statistics & numerical data
  • United Kingdom