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A WCB panel in Nova Scotia has deemed the health effects of shift work to be compensable.

The tribunal ruled that switching between day and night shifts caused a Bridgewater man’s debilitating insomnia. The ruling is being described as a precedent-setting Canadian case, even making the front pages of both Halifax dailies.

The panel said the 34-year-old Michelin tire plant worker’s symptoms were ’at times, disabling’ and concluded that the shift worker experienced enough sleep disruption, exhaustion and inability to work to constitute personal injury.

Atlantic Region Health and Safety Rep. Rob Wells applauds the ruling, saying, “We’ve long known that shift work throws off the Circadian rhythm. We only have to think of the effect a time change or jet lag has on us. Think of some one going through those changes every week or so.”

Maybe now we can get employers to look at more human shift changes, because it’s clearly not workers just trying to be difficult,” says Wells.