night worker assessments
11th January 2016

As an employer, do you know the legal expectations of night time workers’ rights.

Sound Advice gives advice on what employers must be mindful of when recruiting night time workers, given the UK’s 24-hour working culture:

Fit For Night Time Work

Employers are required by law to offer free assessments to night time workers before carrying out work according to Working Time Regulations 1998.

Night Time Working Hours

Night time is between 11pm and 6am, although night time workers and employers may agree to vary this.


In the UK, anyone under the age of 18 (16 – 17) cannot work past 10pm at night.

Limits to Working at Night

Employers must ensure employees do not work more than an average of eight hours in a 24-hour period. However, night time workers can opt out of this working limit. Normal working limits do not apply across all profession e.g. armed forces.

Workers against Working Nights

It is unlawful to discriminate against employees who refuse to work nights.

Occupational health surveillance expert, Sound Advice also stressed the need to ensure employee wellbeing for night time workers.

“With London Underground workers’ hours being extended as well as hotels up and down the country requiring more and more staff to work through the night as tourism surges, it is a perfect time to ensure best standard practice is followed.

“By law any company that employs night time workers must offer health assessments, despite this being a voluntary move that is decided by the employee.

“Sound Advice provides night worker paper questionnaires to employees to determine the need for such assessments, this not only ensures that employers are setting a good standard in caring for employees, but will highlight any need for such health assessments, mitigating any possible risks or claims. In many cases it is suitable to offer a night worker a medical examination on an annual basis. However, employers can offer this health assessment more than once a year if they feel it is necessary.”

The medical conditions that are taken into consideration with respect to an employee’s suitability for night work include:

  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Intestinal problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid or glandular disease
  • Mental illness
  • Chronic sleep problems
  • Back, joint and neck problems
  • Asthma and pulmonary disorders


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