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How are you affected by extended workdays?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Does your employer require you to work extended hours? If so, you might want to learn about some aspects of extended workdays that could cause you harm if left unaddressed. Although it is not an inherently dangerous choice for a company to make, there are risks attached.

How does it work?

When employers schedule extended workdays, there are no hard and fast rules, but the idea behind it often is to fit the 40 normal hours of a workweek into fewer days. Working shifts of 12 hours or more allows workers more days off work.

  • Benefits: Having consecutive days off work might give you more time to spend with your family. It will also enable you to get enough rest, which might lead to increased job satisfaction and boosted morale. More time to relax may reduce work-related stress.
  • Disadvantages: More days off work may affect your familiarity with work procedures. There is no doubt that extended workdays can bring about fatigue that can cause reduced alertness — especially if you spend your off days in activities that are unhealthy and tiring.

Fatigue

Fatigue is your body’s way to tell you it needs rest. Whether you ignore that message or listen to it will determine whether fatigue can lead to harm. Ignored fatigue can result in compromised judgment and loss of attention. Not enough research has been done to determine whether extended workdays cause higher levels of fatigue than standard shifts. However, you might want to note that the air quality, workstation design and other aspects of your workplace environment can cause fatigue.

How do extended workdays affect safety?

Once again, research about this matter is still lacking, and the fact that it is hard to determine a worker’s level of fatigue will likely bring different answers to the question — depending on who you ask. However, you might find yourself at a higher risk of suffering a workplace injury if fatigue jeopardizes your alertness. Exposure to dangerous products or situations for longer periods will bring more risks. Furthermore, safety equipment may not provide the same protection if used over extended hours, leaving you vulnerable.

Although there are no definitive answers to the questions about hazards posed by extended workdays, your job type will likely determine the effect longer hours have on you. If your job requires intense concentration all the time, you might suffer metal fatigue while a colleague who does grueling, manual work may suffer physical fatigue — both of which can be detrimental if it compromises alertness.

Where to find the support you need and deserve

If you have suffered an on-the-job injury at a workplace in New York — regardless of whether your job involved extended hours — you can pursue financial relief through the state’s workers’ compensation system. The administrative and legal procedures of such a claim can be complicated, especially if your employer questions whether the injury is work related. Fortunately, you are entitled to utilize the skills of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to navigate the claim on your behalf when pursuing recovery of medical expenses and lost income.

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