Shift work and sickness absence

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Sickness absence is increasing in public work places in Denmark where shift work is common.


The aim of this prospective study was to predict the hazard ratio (HR) of short- and long-term sickness absence due to shift work in Danish shift workers.


A total of 1008 shift workers and 4009 day workers were followed up for short- and long-time sickness absence.


Among shift workers, the HR of sickness absence lasting ≥2 weeks was 0.92 (95% CI: 0.71–1.18) for men and 0.90 for women (95% CI: 0.71–1.14). For sickness absence lasting ≥8 weeks, the HR was 1.33 (95% CI: 0.91–1.94) for men and 1.13 (95% CI: 0.81–1.59) for women.


This study was inconclusive in proving any link between shift work and absenteeism after controlling for age, education, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol consumption, leisure time physical activity, psychosocial and physical work environment factors.

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