Can Working Overtime Actually Kill You? Here’s the Answer

July 13, 20228:45 am2194 views
Can Working Overtime Actually Kill You? Here’s the Answer
Can Working Overtime Actually Kill You? Here’s the Answer

Each country has a distinct policy regarding working hours, which normally runs from 40 to 44 hours per week. Depending on the need of the market in each region, certain nations may mandate shorter or longer working hours. Employers also have the choice of offering overtime pay, which consists of additional payments that range from 25% to 50% over the standard hourly salary. ILO study revealed that many companies in emerging nations actively push their employees to work longer hours in order to increase productivity and accommodate higher market demand. But is this approach actually safe, or might it harm employees?

Increased Deliverables vs Decreased Employee Wellbeing

Working overtime does, in certain ways, improve performance and assist companies in meeting customer demands. An analysis of the impact of overtime on productivity, however, indicated that the benefits of working extra only last for the first few weeks. According to the report, the first 16 weeks are the only time during which employers may expect a favorable return of 50 to 60 hours of overtime each week. However, by the 16th week, employees may feel extremely burned out and stressed out from their workload.

Prolonged working hours has long been linked to sleep deprivation, depression, increased stress, and potentially fatal workplace accidents. According to research by Heikkila et. al, there is a possible connection between working long hours and cancer. The link between weekly working hours and the incidence of colorectal, lung, or prostate cancer is not conclusively established. The study also discovered that the interruption of the body’s circadian rhythms and the fluctuation of nocturnal production of melatonin are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, which has an effect on the growth of hormone-related breast cancers.

Read Also: Impacts of Long Overtime Hours in Asia

Risk of Cancer among Overtime Workers 

According to the most recent study on the issue, working overtime increases your risk of developing cancer. Your risk of developing cancer is expected to increase when you work an average of 60 hours each week for three decades. Allard Dembe and Xiaoxi Yao discovered that intensive labor, particularly for women who juggle many tasks, can lay the stage for a range of illnesses and impairments after analyzing the association between serious disease and hours worked over a 32-year period. Eight chronic diseases can affect women, including heart disease, cancer (except from skin cancer), rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes or high blood sugar, chronic bronchitis or emphysema, asthma, depression, and high blood pressure.

On the other hand, men with demanding work schedules, however, seemed to perform significantly better. In contrast to the other chronic illnesses, arthritis was more common in men who worked long hours. Men who worked moderately long hours (41 to 50 hours per week) had a decreased risk of heart disease, lung disease, and depression than men who worked 40 hours or fewer per week, according to the study.

What Government Can Do to Help

Governments, employers and workers can take the following actions to protect workers’ health. The government can introduce, implement and enforce laws, regulations and policies that ban mandatory overtime and ensure maximum limits on working time;. There can also be bipartite or collective bargaining agreements between employers and workers’ associations can arrange working time to be more flexible, while at the same time agreeing on a maximum number of working hours. Thus, employees could share working hours to ensure that numbers of hours worked do not climb above 55 or more per week.

Read Also: 4 Reasons Employees Work Overtime & How HR Can Help 

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