Shift work is a major feature of modern work practices. It involves working at times considered unconventional for most workers, such as at night. Although the community often benefits from such work practices, shift work can be hazardous for both the workers and the community. There are increased risks for accidents and errors, increased sleepiness and fatigue due to difficulties sleeping, increased health problems, and disruptions to family and social life. More shift workers complained of sleep disturbance, poor sleep quality, tiredness at awakening, and sleepiness in work than did non-shift workers. More shift workers also complained of gastrointestinal disturbances than did non-shift workers. The aim of this article is to provide general information on shift work, work schedules, and the effects of work schedules on sleep, fatigue, performance, the health of the human operator, and productivity. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.