In 2021, who found that overwork killed more than 745000 people in a year. The study that was published in environment international also found that people who are working more than 35 hours have a higher risk of stroke.
According to guidelines provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a standard work shift is typically defined as a period lasting no longer than 8 consecutive hours within a single day, and each of these shifts should be separated by a minimum of 8 hours of rest.
A conventional work week usually comprises five such workdays. However, it is essential to note that these recommendations are not legally binding requirements, and OSHA does not impose penalties on employers who may request their employees to work beyond these specified limits.
Do Long Working Hours Impact Worker Safety?
It is pretty obvious that there is no safety in working continuously for long hours when work can be cut short according to the productivity level. Workers who constantly work beyond their hours are likely to fall sick in the long run because it can be detrimental to their health. Ensuring adherence to reasonable working hours and promoting workplace safety, including OSHA 30 Hour training NY, is essential for employee well-being.
Numerous studies have demonstrated a correlation between painful long hours that are not according to the standard work shift and workplace stress. Studies have found that work place injuries were more common in off hours and they encompassed different job categories and roles that were manual or non manual.
There was an additional study as well that delved into different shift lengths and the workplace risks. For instance the study has found that if the shift is often hours then there is a 30% chance of accidents or workplace mistakes. At the same time if the shift is off 12 hours then there can be a 28% increase.
OSHA understands the risk factors that are associated with the long shifts and that is why it recommends that employers need to Adhere to the standard work system. OSHA recommends!
- Work shifts comprising up to 8 consecutive hours of work within a single day.
- Occur on a schedule limited to 5 days per week.
- Be separated from other shifts by a minimum of 8 hours of rest.
OSHA states that overwork can lead to!
- Worker burnout that leads to decreased job satisfaction and productivity.
- An increase in employee absences from work.
- Greater reliance on sick leave due to physical and mental fatigue.
- Possible risk of fatigue based disabilities among workers.
- Workplace accidents and injuries are more likely due to reduced alertness and impaired performance.
OSHA’s Regulations on Daily Work Hours
When it comes to the specification of daily work hours then OSHA does not have specific regulations.
However, the organization does provide guidelines and standards that indirectly address this issue. Let’s explore these regulations and their implications:
General Duty Clause
OSHA’s General Duty Clause (Section 5(a)(1)) requires employers to provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that may cause death or serious harm to employees. It may seem that the clause is not implying or addressing the daily work hours but it is talking about the conditions that are important to prevent workplace hazards. Indirectly it implies that long hours can cause a considerable amount of stress.
This is a very important clause and OSHA defines “hours worked” as “all the time when an employee must be on duty on the employer’s premises, on the employer’s behalf. Even if the employee is present on the employer premises at break or overtime hours then this is considered worked hours.
By defining “hours worked,” OSHA indirectly influences employers to ensure that employees do not work excessively long hours without adequate rest periods.
OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom) requires employers to inform employees about the hazards of chemicals in the workplace. When chemical work is involved, employees often have to work extra hours, and this clause emphasizes the importance of employees being cautious and well-prepared. To ensure employees are well-informed and equipped to handle such situations safely, consider providing them with OSHA 30 Hour training NYC online.
- Recordkeeping: OSHA’s requirements compel employers to maintain records of workplace injuries and illnesses. This may not be a very entertaining standard for the employers but it is important for the well being of employees within the organisation.
Rationale Behind OSHA’s Approach
OSHA’s approach to regulating daily work hours is rooted in the organisation’s mission to protect workers’ health and safety while allowing employers the flexibility to manage their workforce effectively. Here are some key reasons behind OSHA’s indirect regulation of daily work hours:
Flexibility for Employers:
OSHA recognizes that industries vary greatly in their operations and demands. Imposing a rigid, one-size-fits-all limit on daily work hours may be challenging. Instead, OSHA’s approach allows employers to assess their unique circumstances and implement measures to prevent fatigue-related hazards accordingly.
Adapting to Industry Changes
The modern workplace is evolving rapidly, with many employees working irregular hours or shifts. OSHA’s adaptable guidelines can accommodate these changes, ensuring they remain relevant and effective in diverse work environments.
Encouraging Employer Responsibility
OSHA’s regulations enable employers to manage employee work hours responsibly.
Protecting Workers from Fatigue Related Hazards
OSHA is all about the rights of employees and it has certain rules in place to make sure they are safe in their work environment. It urges employees to be vigilant about their working hours so they can be compensated fairly for their extra work. It also states that overtime should be managed nicely to prevent fatigue and overexertion.
OSHA also urges that employees should have the knowledge about fatigue related risks and also need to understand the signs of exhaustion. The organisation also emphasises on the need for creating safety committees or designating officers that access or address the potential hazards in the workplace.
OSHA believes in the culture of open communication where employees feel comfortable reporting fatigue-related concerns without fear of reprisal. It believes in Implementing technology solutions such as fatigue monitoring systems or scheduling software that can help optimize work hours and prevent excessive fatigue.
OSHA’s regulations regarding daily work hours are designed to promote worker safety and well-being while allowing employers flexibility in managing their workforce.