J Sleep Med.  2021 Apr;18(1):1-11. 10.13078/jsm.200037.

Night Work and Its Health Effects: Focusing on the Relevant Laws and Regulations of the Republic of Korea

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School and Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital, Hwasun, Korea

Abstract

The modern world is a 24-hour society. Night work exists for the public’s convenience and interest, owing to the unstoppable nature of industries and the benefits it has for companies. Approximately 10.2–14.5% of workers in the Republic of Korea and approximately 20% of workers worldwide work at night. These workers are at an increased risk of various health problems, including sleep disorders, cerebrovascular disease, digestive system disease, metabolic syndrome, fatigue, risk of accidents, cancer, irregular menstrual cycles, depression, and mental illness. In this study, we reviewed the Korean government’s legal system and guidelines to protect night workers’ health. These systems include restrictions on working hours, allowances for night work, special health checkups, compensation for night work-related diseases, and active health promotion measures. Humans cannot adapt to night work completely, and social consensus and efforts are needed to reduce the burden on night workers. Current laws and regulations should be improved for night workers.

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