Long work hours: more injuries, illnesses

August 18, 2005

U.S. researchers say there's new evidence that overtime and long work hours result in more occupational injuries and illnesses.

A study appearing in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine says the injuries and illnesses have nothing to do with how hazardous the job is.

The researchers analyzed the responses of nearly 11,000 people to the annual National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The survey included questions about employment history, work schedules, and sick leave, covering the period between 1987 and 2000.

In total, 110,236 job records were analyzed and 5,139 work related injuries and illnesses were noted, with more than half occurring in jobs requiring extended working hours or overtime.

After adjusting for age, gender, type of industry and job, employees working overtime were 61 percent more likely to suffer a work related injury or illness than employees who did not work overtime.

Working at least 12 hours a day was associated with a 37 percent increased risk of injury or illness, while working at least 60 hours a week was associated with a 23 percent increased risk, compared with those who worked fewer hours.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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