Is Excessive Overtime Dangerous for Missouri Workers?

Working too many extra hours on too many days and weeks can take its toll not only on Missouri employees but also on the employers.

Working overtime may be necessary occasionally, especially during an industry’s or a company’s peak season. It can even be beneficial for employees who wish to earn extra income from time to time. However, working too many extra hours on too many days and weeks can take its toll not only on employees but also on the employers.

st. louis nurse working excessive overtime

Consequences of Excessive Overtime

Numerous scientific studies have found that increased working hours, when continuous and over an extended period, can negatively impact workers and employees in various aspects. In fact, long working hours can lead to extreme fatigue which can result in an injury in the workplace.

Health Problems

Physical injuries associated with heavy manual labor performed repeatedly over a long period of time can occur. The most common of these is lower back injury among workers required to do the heavy lifting. White-collar employees, on the other hand, experience hypertension. In pregnant women, working too many hours results in lower birth weight or gestational age for their babies.

For employers, these statistics translate into lost workdays and more workers’ compensation claims.

Mental and Emotional Issues

Excessive overtime can strain marital relationships, which sometimes leads to divorce. Family conflicts further add to stress-causing mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and even suicide.

Unhealthy Habits and Behaviors

Increased smoking, alcohol consumption, unhealthy weight gain, and physical inactivity usually occur in men and women working increasingly long hours. These negative effects indirectly affect employers, including the escalated cost of health care, the incidence of absenteeism, and turnover rates.

Risk to Safety

Worker fatigue afflicts employees who don’t get quality sleep because they either don’t take long breaks during a workday or work long hours multiple times a week. As a consequence, their attention span lowers, resulting in errors, accidents, and subpar performance.

Car accidents are also likely to occur when fatigue sets in and drivers become less careful, distracted, daring in their maneuvers, and erratic in their speed and lane shifting patterns.

Productivity Decline

The cumulative effect of employees working over 60 hours a week for four weeks or more can be apparent in the quality of products or services they produce. Reject rates increase and customer satisfaction decreases in direct ratio to the compounded work hours.

Other effects of excessive overtime on productivity include slower work rates, a rise in unproductive time, and low morale.

Labor and Employment Issues

Because of all of the above-mentioned problems among workers and employees, absenteeism will intensify and lead to more serious labor challenges. These include lay-offs, turnovers, hiring replacements, and workers’ compensation claims.

Many cases of work-related injuries are due to excessive workload. If you have suffered this type of injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. As a resident of St. Louis, you can take advantage of the free consultation from an experienced Missouri work injury lawyer. Allow our experienced legal team to help you navigate through the complex process and help protect your legal rights.

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Updated: December 4, 2020