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Workplace injuries and illnesses have been associated with long working hours. In the United States, working overtime has been on the rise. It is estimated that American workers spend an extra 1.5 hours per week at their job, and for those working in manufacturing-overtime has increased by 25% when compared to 10 years ago. Data suggests that working greater than 12 hours in a single day was associated with a 37% (95% CI=1.16–1.59) increase in hazard rate (HR), while working greater than 60 hour per week was associated with a 23% (95% CI=1.05–1.45) increase in HR. For those working overtime, there was a 61% (95% CI=1.43–1.79) increase in HR when compared to jobs without overtime. Long working hours carries a risk of 80% in developing Coronary Heart disease (CHD) (95% CI=1.42–2.29) after adjusting for age, sex and socioeconomic status. More stringent restrictions found a risk for CHD to be 59% (95% CI=1.23–2.07). There is little known on the effectiveness of strategies to address the association between long working hours and occupational stress-related injuries and illnesses. Prevention strategies should address all levels in the hierarchy including individual, organizational and policy levels. There is an urgency to support efforts that attempt to bring individuals, workplace and legislative policies together to understand the adverse effects of working long hours and collaboratively work towards a solution.


This work was originally published in the Journal of Health Science & Education, available at DOI: 10.0000/JHSE.1000115.



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