The Dangers of Excessive Overtime

October 30, 2020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 80% of employees in each of the following industries work full time, and TSheets found that about half of each workforce clock overtime:

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Agriculture, forestry, and hunting
  • Transportation

It has long been assumed that overworking employees decreases productivity and increases the chances of employee health issues. If you have been injured in a way that you suspect may be due at least in part to excessive overtime requirements, contact a Doylestown injury attorney before you speak with your insurance company.

Potential Consequences of Excessive Overtime

  • Decreased Productivity. Employee output tends to drop after 50 hours a week, and excessive overtime may actually be completely non-productive. Sleep deprivation also contributes to decreased productivity.
  • Increased Health Issues. Excessive overtime is believed to result in a higher risk for back or other spinal injuries, high blood pressure, mental health issues, and heavy alcohol consumption. Typical health issues tend to arise when working 50 to 60 hours a week and increase significantly when working more than 60 hours.
  • Safety Risks. Excessive overtime may impair performance while decreasing attention to detail. More errors and accidents may result when employees experience fatigue.
  • Morale Problems. Companies, where employees are working excessive overtime, are believed to have more morale problems in the workplace. Health issues and fatigue may trigger increased absenteeism, as will too much time away from families.
  • Higher Turnover Rates. Companies are damaged by excessive overtime when tired, frustrated employees simply give up. They can no longer tolerate the excessive overtime and start looking elsewhere for employment. This problem is compounded when workers aren’t paid enough for working overtime.

Another Viewpoint

Nonetheless, according to the Harvard Business Review, “only certain types of employees doing certain types of work in certain work environments are at higher risk of illness, injury, or reduced productivity,” and only at certain levels of long hours. The article also suggests that many typical company policies are missing a bigger point: that pre-existing factors, such as prior health, are much better predictors of illness, injury, and impaired on-the-job performance than the number of hours worked. 

The primary point of the article is that companies can likely more effectively boost employee health and productivity by promoting better health management, disease prevention, and early detection than by limiting hours. Similarly, employee rewards programs, like increased overtime pay, company-sponsored lunches, after-work gatherings, and productivity awards with actual value, such as gift certificates or employer-sponsored vacations, can do wonders for boosting morale.

Contact a Doylestown Injury Attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis for More Information

If you have been involved in an accident that may be related to excessive overtime, contact a Doylestown injury attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis. We’ll help you understand your options and assist you with any claims you may have.

Contact us for further information and to schedule your free consultation.