Long Hours Put Workers at Risk of Accidents

October 9, 2018

More than 400 million people worldwide work 49 hours or more per week, according to recent International Labor Organization (ILO) statistics. This global trend towards working overtime is putting workers at risk of accidents. Many studies suggest that those who are overworked are more likely to be injured in an accident at work. Unfortunately, many workers, including freelancers and on-call workers, feel as if they have no choice but to put in the long hours.

The Gig Economy’s Impact on Overtime

In today’s gig economy, workers are generally underpaid and overworked. Those hired on freelancer platforms are encouraged to rack up hours, sometimes even working all night to get projects done for clients who live in different time zones. Freelancers who code, write blog posts, build websites or do social media marketing are often ranked on those platforms based on their performance. Good reviews give them a better chance of being hired in the future, therefore many feel pressured to accommodate the client’s every request or else risk getting a bad rating and having no work.

Those working for ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber are also known for staying on call for long periods of time. Some U.S. reports indicate that drivers work up to 20 hours during fare spikes. Uber drivers in the U.K. are now limited to 10 continuous hours after Uber was subject to a parliamentary committee probe regarding ‘modern work practices’ and their impact on worker/employer rights and responsibilities.

On-call workers are generally more stressed than workers who are not on call. Being on call or expecting a stressful day causes cortisol (stress hormones) levels to rise faster, and chronic stress causes the levels to remain high. According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, even when on-call workers did not get called into work, they still felt like they had no control over their time and therefore could not enjoy their “time off”.

The Risks Associated With Fatigue

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that analyzed 13 years of U.S. job records, workers who had overtime schedules had a 61 percent higher injury rate than those who did not work overtime. Being awake for 17 hours may be worse than having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05 percent. And being awake for 21 hours straight is like having a BAC of .1 percent – over the legal limit in most countries.

Like alcohol, fatigue is associated with decreased reaction time and impaired coordination. Those who drive for work are at risk of drowsy driving, the cause of at least 100,000 police-reported motor vehicle accidents per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Physical laborers such as construction workers are at increased risk of being injured by heavy machinery, falls from ladders or mishandling equipment. When workers in Pennsylvania suffer workplace injuries due to fatigue, they are likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Clients Obtain Compensation for Their Workplace Injuries

If you were injured at work because you were fatigued from working overtime, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Contact a skilled Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. to discuss your case today. For a free consultation, call us at 888-PITT-LAW or complete our online contact form.

We represent injured workers throughout Pennsylvania, including Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery County, and Philadelphia County, including those in the communities of AbingtonAmblerArdmoreBala CynwydBensalemClifton HeightsCrum LynneDarbyDowningtownDoylestownDrexel HillEssingtonFolcroftGlenoldenHaverfordHavertownHolmesKutztownLansdowneMediaMerion StationMortonNarberthNorristownNorwoodPhiladelphiaProspect ParkQuakertownReadingRoxboroughSharon HillUpper DarbyWest Chester and Wynnewood.