People working overtime or those who have long working hours face increased risk of illness and injury, irrespective of how hazardous the job is. Infact employees who work overtime were 61 percent more likely to sustain work-related injury or illness than those who didn't.
Previous studies had established a link between extended working hours and an increased risk for certain occupations, industries or companies. It has been for the first time a study has been conducted to explore the relationship between age, gender, type of industry and job. The results have revealed that overtime is worse than working longer hours.
Long working hours, and in particular overtime, induce fatigue or stress leading to injury and illness. The projected results could also be accounted by the workers' perception that overtime is something that's more than what one should be doing.
The increased risk wasn't merely a result of demanding work schedules being concentrated in inherently riskier industries or jobs, contradicting the existing belief that people who work longer have more dangerous jobs or that those who have dangerous jobs work longer hours.
Working longer hours, such as at least 12 hours a day, was associated with a 37 percent increase in illness or injury, while working at least 60 hours a week was associated with a 23 percent increase. Long commuting however had no impact on the injury and illness rate.
The present study has addressed the most frequent injuries and illnesses such as musculoskeletal disorders (35%) followed by cuts and bruises (25%). Previous studies have already explored relationship of working hours to heart disease, fatigue, stress, depression, chronic infections, diabetes, general health complaints and death.
Taking into consideration the implications of the present study on productivity and profit, it is high time that appropriate amendments be made with respect to laws for working standards and conditions.