Studies Show Longer Work Hours Increase Risk of Occupational Injury and Disease

Americans have always taken great pride in their productivity and the strength of the U.S. economy. In fact, compared to their counterparts in European countries, Americans work much longer hours. While the average is 34.4 hours per week, many adults who work full time report working as much as 47 hours per week and 40 percent of workers say they log more than 50 hours per week on the job. Although some may argue the hard work pays off, many would disagree, arguing rather that such long hours could be harmful, leading to higher rates of injury and illness amongst workers.   When workers are injured on the job, they may collect both income and medical benefits, placing a burden on companies. Perhaps the small amount gained by having workers on the job for long hours isn’t worth the long term costs of the injuries and illnesses they contract. If you are a worker who has sustained injuries through the course of your employment, it’s important to speak to a workers’ compensation attorney to ensure your receive the benefits you deserve.  

Longer Hours Equal More Injuries

  The results of studies that associate longer working hours with higher rates of injuries come as little surprise, though they highlight disturbing trends in U.S. labor. One such study, published by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that employees that worked over 12 hours per day or over 60 per week had rates of injury that were almost 30 to 40 percent higher than ones working fewer hours. Those working overtime had 60 to 80 percent higher rates of injury than those who did not.   Such research puts interesting questions forth regarding trends in employment and safety for workers. The number of hours that Americans work has steadily increased since the end of World War II. Although productivity has greatly improved, workers have reaped little benefits, with wages remaining stagnant. Improvements in safety standards, of course, have reduced the overall rate of injuries and illnesses amongst workers, but such studies may still point to which workers are most at risk for injury because of increased hours.  

Health Risks Associated With Longer Hours

  A tired worker in a manufacturing plant or an overworked nurse may have hurt themselves on equipment or slip and fall because they aren’t as alert as they should be. Longer work hours, however, aren’t just putting workers at greater risk for workplace accidents and injuries; they also may be linked to other long term health risks.   Longer hours at work often lead to higher levels of stress, raised blood pressure, and unhealthy diets. The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study that the combination of these conditions could cause other serious health problems for workers, particularly relating to heart disease and stroke.   Both American workers and companies must ask themselves if the couple extra hours in the office or the plant are really worth the long term risks.  

Collecting Workers’ Compensation

  If all the long hours at work have caused health problems or injuries, you may be entitled to receive compensation. Contact our experienced Atlanta, GA workers’ compensation legal team at Workers Compensation Lawyers to talk about the specifics of your case. Most Atlanta workers are protected by Georgia workers’ compensation laws and can collect benefits when they miss work due to injury on the job.]]>