Worldwide, approximately two million people die from work-related injuries and illnesses every year. One of the biggest risk factors is rarely identified as a problem, though. According to the United Nations, long working hours contribute to a significant number of fatal injuries.
How long is too long?
Full time employment is considered working 40 hours in a single week. However, it is not uncommon for workers in North Carolina to work multiple part-time jobs that add up to over 40 hours a week. Some full-time employers require overtime, so even workers with just one job can end up putting in more hours in a week. This is a serious problem because the UN has identified long working hours as at least 55 hours in a single week.
The World Health Organization — WHO — has also cited long working hours as the deadliest risk factor when it comes to worker safety. In a recent press conference, the chief of WHO also addressed some of the other top contributing risk factors for worker deaths. Some of the main factors he highlighted were:
- Exposure to carcinogens
- Prolonged sitting
- Manual handling of heavy loads
Many workplace deaths are preventable with the right kind of safety precautions in place. Unfortunately, many North Carolina employers prioritize profit and efficiency over the safety of workers. When these actions result in serious or even fatal injuries, victims or their families often turn toward the workers’ compensation system for help addressing things like lost wages and medical bills.