Working Overtime Raises Injury, Illness Risk
Study found 12-hour days boosted the odds by more than a third
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Regardless of job type, working double shifts and overtime puts American workers at increased risk for injury and illness, a new study shows.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School analyzed data on more than 5,100 work-related injuries and illnesses, and found that more than half occurred in jobs with extended working hours or overtime.
After making adjustments for certain factors, the researchers concluded that employees who worked overtime were 61 percent more likely to suffer a work-related illness or injury than those who didn't work overtime.
The study found that working at least 12 hours a day was associated with a 37 percent increased risk of illness or injury, while working at least 60 hours a week was associated with a 23 percent increased risk.
The findings appear in the current issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
While longer working hours were associated with increased risk of illness and injury, there was no link between long commutes and work-related illness or injury, the researchers said.
They believe these findings support the theory that fatigue and stress caused by long working hours indirectly contribute to workplace accidents.
In the United States, up to a third of overtime is compulsory.
The U.S. Department of Labor has more about workplace safety.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: BMJ Specialist Journals, news release, Aug. 18, 2005
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