Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1998;24 suppl 3:134-140    pdf

Combined effects of shift systems and work requirements on customs officers

by Prunier-Poulmaire S, Gadbois C, Volkoff S

Objectives The aim of this study was to examine the combined impact of different shift schedules and job demands on the physical health of customs officers.

Methods The following schedules were used: 4 × 6 hours, 3 × 8 hours, 2 × 12 hours, and day work. Data were collected via a questionnaire specially designed for the evaluation of specific job demands on the basis of ergonomic analyses in 10 units. A correspondence analysis led to the identification of 3 variables representing different categories of work-related constraints, namely, physically demanding job, boring, monotonous job, and conflicting relations with travelers. These variables were included in a series of logistic regression analyses on the health aspects of the customs officers.

Results The analyses highlighted the dominating effect of the 3 × 8 hour and 4 × 6 hour schedules on the occurrence of health problems but also showed strong effects for confrontation with travelers. The conflictual relations with travelers had the largest and most marked influence, it played a role in the area of sleep and cardiovascular and digestive problems. All of the 3 central job demands had an effect on sleep.

Conclusion The results point to a need for a multifaceted approach to research and intervention regarding the difficulties encountered by shift workers, from both the occupational medicine and the work design point of view. This conclusion seems particularly relevant for several professional sectors in which workers are confronted with both shift work and customer-focused jobs (police, prison guards, nurses, and the like).

The following article refers to this text: 2010;36(2):85-95