The Working Time Regulations 1998 provide special protections for night workers, who must be offered free and confidential night worker health assessments before starting work, on a regular basis, or as appropriate to the individual.
The Working Time Regulations state that a night worker is someone who normally works at least three hours at night. Night time is between 11pm and 6am, although night workers and employers may agree to vary this.
Night worker health assessments are to ensure that an employee's health is not put at risk as a consequence of working night shifts, and also to ensure that an employee does not have an existing medical condition that may not be compatible with night work.
Completion of a night worker health assessment is voluntary, however we advise that all night workers complete the health questionnaire. The questionnaire is employee led, to access the health questionnaire please follow the steps below:
- Visit: https://portal.healthmanagement.org.uk/employeelogin.aspx
- Enter access code: BUMGXAUS3556
- Complete all 4 sections of the questionnaire and click ‘Submit questionnaire’
How health assessments work
Once the Night Worker health questionnaire has been submitted to Health Management Ltd (HML) it will be assessed by an Occupational Health clinician, taking into account the type of work that will be carried out and the restrictions on the night worker’s working time under the regulations.
If the Occupational Health clinician has any concerns with regards to the information given on the night worker health assessments questionnaire, a follow up phone call to the employee will be made to ensure that a full overview of health is given.
Any adjustments or safer work practices can then be recommended to the employer, to ensure that the employee’s health is not being put at any risk.
A certificate with any recommendations on it will be sent to the HR Engagement and Wellbeing team (firstname.lastname@example.org) with appropriate information being shared with the member of staff and their line manager.
The medical conditions that are taken into consideration with respect to their effect on an employee’s suitability as a night worker include:
- Heart disease
- Intestinal problems
- Kidney disease
- Thyroid or glandular disease
- Mental illness
- Chronic sleep problems
- Back, joint and neck problems
- Asthma and pulmonary disorders
If an employee does suffer from one or more of the above, it does not automatically mean that they are unsuitable for night working. Completion of a night worker health assessment will identify all risk factors and then advice will be given so that they can be managed effectively; ensuring that the member of staff’s health or other people’s safety remains unaffected.