The number one concern that is associated with working long hours is fatigue.
Very few workers enjoy working long hours or overtime, and even fewer companies want to pay their employees the extra money. In addition, research indicates that there is a negative effect of working long, extended hours, which include health problems and a higher risk of work injuries. However, nearly half of the workers in the U.S. continue to clock more than 50 hours each week.
A 2005 study from the Occupational and Environmental Medicine revealed just how dangerous long hours are for employees. The following are a few significant findings from that publication:
- Employees that work overtime are 61% more likely to suffer an injury than those that don’t.
- Working for over 12 hours in a day makes you 37% more likely to be injured.
- Working over 60 hours in a week puts you 23% at risk.
None of the findings can be explained by a correlation between overtime and dangerous jobs. Instead, researchers confidently claim that long hours are the primary driver of injury risk.
Why Overtime Causes Work Injuries
- Fatigue – The number one concern that is associated with long hours is fatigue. The reason is that being tired puts you at risk of every type of accident or injury. If you think about it, this idea makes a lot of sense. Almost anyone would agree that being intoxicated at work is a liability. What people might not realize is that fatigue is often just as risky as being drunk. It will make you more likely to fall, lift without proper form, fall asleep while using machinery, and much more.
- Strain – The second critical consequence of long hours is the increased risk of strain. Unlike fatigue, where your mind is tired, strain describes your body being tired. This effect primarily impacts workers in industries that do a lot of lifting, operating machinery, or carry out any other type of task that requires physicality. Straining yourself over and over again leads to a much higher risk of sustaining an injury.
- Mental Health – Mental health issues are dangerous in two ways. First, they are debilitating by nature. Whether you start to suffer from depression, anxiety, or any other problem, your quality of life will fall significantly. Second, these issues tend to make people worse decision makers, which can lead to physical injuries or acting in ways that make you lose your job. These disorders relate to long hours because a heavy work schedule coupled with a lack of sleep can make anybody start to suffer from mental health problems.
- High Blood Pressure – When you work long hours, your body is in a constant state of stress. This means that your sympathetic nervous system is activated, and your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. In small doses, cortisol can be beneficial – it gives you the energy you need to get through the day. But when cortisol levels are constantly high, it can lead to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure. Additionally, when you’re working long hours, you’re also more likely to eat unhealthy foods, get less exercise, and have difficulty sleeping. All of these factors can contribute to high blood pressure.
When to Hire a Work Injury Attorney
Each year thousands of workers in the U.S. are injured while on the job. Some people are fortunate and can file a claim and receive fair compensation and benefits. However, many times injured workers are denied benefits. Insurance adjusters will look for any reason to deny coverage.
If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, you are allowed by law to fight for your benefits through an appeals process. A Missouri workers’ compensation attorney from The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann can help you file an appeal and fight for your rights. Take action now to protect your rights to compensation for lost wages and medical bills.