You’ve been working construction for the last five years, and you occasionally get asked to work overtime hours. You usually take it. Who doesn’t want to earn time and a half for the same work? Plus, you don’t want to be the one person who said no when everyone else agreed.
In the last 12 months, though, overtime has become so common it’s nearly standard. You don’t remember the last time you put in just 40 hours in a week. You usually work at least 10 hours per day, if not more.
Your bank account looks great, but you’re exhausted. Other workers seem to be burning out. People look tired and groggy on the job site. Some days, it feels like you just have time to go home, sleep and get up to do it all again.
If so, you should know that your odds of getting injured on the job are rising dramatically.
Per the National Center for Biotechnology Information, just working in a job that demands overtime means you’ll see a 61 percent higher injury rate than someone who doesn’t have overtime. That really adds up as the days and weeks go by. Remember, you don’t have to be the one who makes a mistake to get seriously injured.
The study also found that 12-hour days were exceedingly dangerous, increasing injury risks by 37 percent. Even if you don’t have to do that all the time, agreeing to those extra four hours just once a week means you’re more likely to get hurt.
If you put in an extra 20 hours per week, for a total of 60 hours, then your hazard rate jumps by 23 percent. You may feel like you can gut it out and get through the week without incident, but the statistics paint a different picture.
A construction boom
Why does this matter to the construction industry? Many experts are predicting a boom in 2018. They note that spending in this industry hit $1.257 trillion for November of 2017, which is a record. It’s unclear just how high the numbers could get throughout the year.
If the boom happens, it means two things. First off, new workers will get hired. That can raise risks if those workers don’t have experience. Second, current workers could see increased demand and even more overtime hours. That could drastically raise risks even for those with a lot of experience. The boom is good for the industry, but does it also mean that the injury statistics will soar to record highs?
If so, it’s important for workers to know all of their rights. Construction is already considered one of the most dangerous occupations, and that could grow worse this year.