Research done on night work by TNO and RIVM

Today a study about night work was presented by TNO and the RIVM. (For those unfamiliar with these two Dutch institutes, we have added an explanation at the bottom of this page.) We have listed a number of important recommendations put forward in the brochure ‘Insight into the impact of night work and the possible solutions” below. 

TNO RIVM nachtwerk onderzoek

(translation: Insight into the impact of night work and the possible solutions. Experiences from night workers, employers and corporate physicians

Night work has to be made more safe

Fatigue at work is a grave danger. The room for error increases and safety is at risk. It is necessary to focus attention on prevention. A short moment of recovery or a powernap can effectively reduce fatigue.

Employer’s contribution: to introduce a powernap

Employers from their part can also play a part, says lead researcher Prof. dr. Karin Proper of the RIVM: “One can think of things such as education, of providings courses, of supplying specific food and beverages and by facilitating sleep. For instance, a powernap that can be introduced at work.


Night workers themselves emphasize the positive effects a powernap has during the night shift. It makes them feel recharged for the remainder of their shift or even the night. In addition to this effect while at work, they also state that they can make their way home more alert, thus reducing risk while in traffic.

It helps a lot if a powernap is accepted by their managers and by their co-workers. What also is very helpful, is when a suited space is provided for powernapping.

Managers that are enthusiastic about powernap increase succes

Lead by example, TNO recommends in it’s findings. It provides insight that in the case of succesful adaptation at certain deparments, these were always managemed by managers that shared a believe in the invertention methods. It is important that managers themselves use the powernap facilities or actively promote the use of those facilities.  Having managers that have themselves embraced powernapping as a succesful intervention, reduces the threshold for others to use them. This strongly increases the succes-rate of offered interventions.

More knowledge regarding (possible) solutions

According to the researchers, it is very important to gather more knowledge about the possible solutions regarding night work. This knowledge ranges from ways to reduce negative effects on health to ways to best realise those solutions at companies.  We are more than happy to share our knowledge and experiences with you and make sure we also reserve sufficient time for this.

Increase employee commitment by starting a pilot

Much research – including that done specifcally for night work – shows that directly involving the target-group in developing and implementing interventions, strongly improves the realisation. We are more than happy to organise a pilot at (one of) your location(s). During a pilot-period, your employees can get acquiainted with our recovery- and powernap facilities. It gives them the opportunity to experience what a short recovery at work can do for them.

A quiet place for a powernap: separate room

In the brochure, it is also put forward that a separate, quiet space to powernap is a beneficiary circumstance. For that very reason, it is advisable NOT to place powernapfacilities somewhere in a public space or on locations where quiet can’t be guaranteed. Preferably, even if space is limited, do not make concessions on these points but try to find suitable solutions. Sometimes, existing spaces such as a quiet room or a lactation room can function very well as a recovery room.

By furnishing a dedicated rest room, we can offer employees the privacy and the quiet they need.

More tailor-made work is needed to effectively counter the problem’, say TNO and RIVM.

List of sources

The NOS (Dutch public news agency, sort of Dutch BBC) had an item about the research publication in the 20.00 h  daily news show. The brochure, as PDF, with the research and the findings as presented by TNO and the RIVM can be found here: ‘Insight in the impact of night work and the possible solutions’.

Slotconferentie onderzoek TNO en RIVM

With the publication of the brochure, the debate about night work hasn’t ended yet. Karin Proper, lead researcher from RIVM looks forward to the final conference to be held march 16th at the offices of RIVM. “We will present our research results, but we will also engage in discussions with night workers and a corporate physician. 

More information about our tailor made solutions for night work?

We have extensive experience with intervention projects in health care, industry, transport/ logistics, safety and the technical sector. Our “Fit through the night” approach is highly appreciated by our clients.

Please contact us if you would like to receive more information, we are always open to set up a meeting. This can be at your location or at our office.

Phone.  +31 (0)344 571444

(Source: TNO en RIVM


Sidenotes: Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (TNO; English: Dutch Organization for Applied Scientific Research) is an independent statutory research organization in the Netherlands that focuses on applied science. It conducts contract research, offers specialist consulting services, and grants licenses for patents and specialist software. (

RIVM, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, is an agency of the Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS). The Ministry is the owner of RIVM. It provides the facilities RIVM needs in order to do it’s work. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport is also one of it’s commissioning clients. Even so, RIVM is independent in the performance of it’s commissioned projects. (