Well - actually more like - "Shift Work - Human Being Style". That might be a more apt title for this file until I can find some info specifically about public safety shift work.

In the meantime, let me tell you about a report that I saw on TV. Actually, two TV reports.

The first TV report was about some ?November 1998 research by a Japanese scientist. The findings were - humans can function perfectly OK for extended periods of time (?several days) as long as they take naps in the correct manner. (Naps = short rests or short sleep periods.) The correct way to take a nap requires the monitoring of brain waves. When humans go into deep sleep, their brains exhibit deep sleep patterns. (I believe that these are "P-waves" on EEG machines.) Rapid eye movements (REM) also occur in this deep sleep state.

The correct way to take a nap is - go into a dark room - screen out all light and noise - recline in a soft chair - nap for 20 minutes - do NOT go into REM sleep. Apparently, most humans drift into REM sleep after 20 minutes of napping. But not all humans are exactly alike. Therefore, evryone who wants to nap properly has to be connected to a brain monitor in order that they not drift into REM sleep. (The brain monitor can be programmed to gently awaken the person as they approach the REM state.)

I do not have the research report right in front of me - I may not have all of the facts 100% correct.


The other TV report that I saw (?January 1999) stated that some railroad in the USA was going to allow their engineers to start taking naps in the cabs of their trains. The story did not say anything about REM sleep, 20 minute limits, nor gradual wake-ups.

by Peter Szerlag----February 25, 1999


I just found a good looking website that has lots of shift info - (3/12/99)


May 11, 1999 - per ?Natl Public Radio or AM radio news - National Transportation Safety Board in Washington DC is studying shift work - Meg Sweeney is the NTSB person studying sleep guidelines - Peter Pantusso of the American Bus Association was saying that most bus drivers get plenty of sleep.


How is this for an idea? - 12 hour shifts for all public safety workers - day workers could work 1 day on and 1 day off; or 2 on/2 off; or 3 on/3 off; or 4 on/4 off; or 5 on/5 off; or whatever. Night shift workers could work 7 on / 7 off or 12 on/ 12 off - this scheme would cause less time shifting - people wouldnt have to go on and off night shift as often.


Here is a good list of shift work links.

 Shiftwork links 


June 2000 - the Feds are thinking about changing work rules for truck drivers and a recent study looks at air traffic controllers

Effects of Quick Rotating Shift Schedules on the Health and Adjustment of Air Traffic Controllers
Crystal Cruz, M.S., Pamela Della Rocco, Ph.D., and Carla Hackworth, M.A. 
Aviat Space Environ Med 2000; 71:400-7 
Introduction: Many Air Traffic Control Specialists (ATCSs) in the United States work shift schedules that involve counterclockwise rapid rotations. Researchers have reported negative health effects associated with shiftwork, suggesting that workers on rotating shift schedules suffer the greatest consequences. The purpose of this study was to assess the extent of health, sleep, and shiftwork adaptation problems experienced by ATCSs. Hypothesis: It was hypothesized that shiftwork-related problems would be identified. Methods: A total of 210 ATCSs completed a modified version of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) General Health and Adjustment Questionnaire (25). The questionnaire included a broad range of health, sleep, job, and lifestyle questions. Health and sleep pattern index scores were computed for this paper. Comparisons were conducted based on the following shift characteristics: length of shift (8- vs. 9-h), number of early morning shifts, number of midnight shifts, and schedule preference. Results: Over half of the sample in this study reported periods of severe fatigue or exhaustion and symptoms of gastrointestinal disturbance typically found among shift workers. Better health and sleep pattern index scores were reported by those who preferred rotating schedules and by those who did not work night shifts. Discussion: The ATCSs in this sample were relatively young and are required to pass a yearly physical to maintain employment. Thus, this may have resulted in low frequencies of reported medical problems. However, reports of sleepiness, fatigue, and falling asleep seem to indicate that countermeasures for sleepiness at work and on the drive home could benefit ATCSs. 
Keywords: air traffic controllers, shiftwork, health, rotating shift schedules. 
Information on subscribing, and on obtaining copies of an article or of an entire issue. 
Table of Contents for Volume 71, Number 4 of the ASME journal. 
ASEM Home Page.



From the NewsHound

The latest issue of Aviation, Space & Environmental Medicine has an article about a study of air traffic controllers who work an 8-hour schedule that rotates backward--they get "much less sleep than they need and consequently experience a range of fatigue problems." The shift typically has them working two night shifts, two evening shifts, and two day shifts, followed by two days off. The study of controllers at the OKC center found they averaged 6.3 hours of sleep per day, 40% said they felt tired or sleepy while at work two or three times a week, and 68.1% said they dozed off at work during the last year. Oh, on the way home, 32.4% said they had fallen asleep some time during the last six months. The article is not on-line, but check the summary at: --------------------------- The News Hound already has enough recognition with


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