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Representing Injured Workers Since 1955

Could long hours be affecting my health?

While it’s perfectly normal to feel tired after a long day at work, your health and well-being can actually be impacted by the work schedule that you keep. If you regularly work night shifts and/or over eight hours a day, you may experience any number of physical and cognitive difficulties that could qualify as work-related injuries.

According to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a large percentage of the American workforce may be subject to job-related illness and injury incidents relating to long and irregular work schedules. It’s estimated that the work shifts in America are longer than those in many other countries, and that some 15 million people around the nation maintain full-time schedules working irregular and/or evening shifts. Unfortunately, however, there is an increasing amount of information to suggest that deviating from the standard 9-to-5 work shift can be detrimental to your health.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration describes the traditional full-time work schedule is eight daytime hours, five days in a row. Anything beyond or other than that schedule is considered to be atypical. And as OSHA explains, regularly performing irregular and extended work hours can result in a number of serious fatigue-related workplace injuries.

Given that your overtime and/or night shift schedule can disrupt your body’s natural rhythm for sleep and other processes, you may begin to experience symptoms linked to physical, emotional and mental fatigue. Symptoms can include but are not limited to:

  • Lack of concentration and/or alertness
  • Changes in temper and/or mood
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Digestive problems
  • Compromised immune system

Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to help mitigate the effects that an irregular work schedule can have on your health. OSHA notes that resting between shifts and only doing a few at a time can allow your body to recover properly. Similarly, your mind and body can benefit from taking several short breaks during the course of an extended shift.

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