Labour Research December 2019

Health & Safety Matters

Night work at record levels

Night working has hit record levels, with the over-50s accounting for all its growth since 2014, according to a TUC analysis published at the end of October. 

It shows that nearly a million (924,000) of the record 3.25 million night workers in Britain are aged over 50, and a significant number are aged over 60 (222,000) and 65 (69,000). The TUC says the well-documented negative health impacts of night work, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression, are heightened for older workers.

The analysis found the key factors behind the rise are older employees staying in work for longer, and more jobs being created in sectors like social care where older workers are more likely to be employed. 

Care workers now account for the majority of night workers (432,000), followed by nurses and midwives (232,000) and road transport drivers (208,000). 

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady called on the government to do more to protect night workers. 

“They need better notice of their shifts and proper compensation if work is cancelled,” she said.