Insufficient and disturbed sleep has a negative impact on health and safety. It is estimated, that 13% of all occupational accidents are caused by sleepiness. Around 30% of all workers report suffering from sleep disorders. The proportion of shift workers suffering from sleep problems is twice as high due to alternating, very early and nighttime working hours. In addition, sleep times are too short. A quarter of the working population in Germany sleeps less than five hours per day during the working week, while another quarter sleeps six hours or less.
The preventive measures targeted the reduction of occupational accidents and health hazards linked to working time, insufficient sleep, and sleep disturbances, particularly among shift workers. The objective of the feasibility study was to assess the approval of the preventive measures.
In an interdisciplinary team comprising professionals from the glass-ceramics industry, occupational medicine, social partners, and science, approaches to prevent sleep disorders and sleep deprivation were developed. The prevention measure was to be low-threshold, freely accessible, and user-friendly on various media. The focus was on the special day- and working-time-dependent concerns of employees in (rotating) shift work regarding sleep, nutrition, exercise and light exposure.
A web application called "Schlafometer" (EN: Sleepometer) was developed as a preventive measure. The web application includes a self-check using validated questionnaires on a person’s chronotype (Composite Scale of Morningness), sleep behaviour (Regensburg Insomnia Scale) and individual daytime sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Scale). The site provides recommendations for a person’s daily routine based on their chronotype to match their shift schedule. Site users can adjust their sleep time according to their chronotype and their shift schedule to increase their total sleep time. Workers with concerning scores for daytime sleepiness or sleep quality will receive a recommendation to consult a health professional (e.g. occupational health). Further information is provided in the form of an information system consisting of nine thematically arranged modules and tips on selected web sites (also available in plain language).
The answers from the questionnaires can be sent anonymously and on a voluntary basis to the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA) for statistical analysis.
A follow-up project is planned to evaluate the questionnaire data over a period of 5 years. The interplay between daytime sleepiness, sleep quality, chronotype and working hours should be considered when developing counter measures against daytime sleepiness.
The web application is available for free at https://vbg-schlafometer.de.
-cross sectoral-Type of hazard:
work organization/safety and health management, work-related health hazardsCatchwords:
accident, epidemiology, working timeDescription, key words:
Shift work, Chronotype, Sleep, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Composite Scale of Morningness