Long hours ‘increase injury risk’

Study backs Working Time Directive

By Matthew Appleby Working long hours could increase the risk of job-related illness and injuries by up to 61 per cent, research has found. The study found that working 12 hours or more a day increased risk of occupational injuries by 38 per cent. Working more than 60 hours a week increased the chance of being hurt at work by 23 per cent. Campaigners said the study showed that the Government must fully implement the European Working Time Directive, which would limit workers to a 48-hour week. But industry body the HTA has again backed the government policy of opting out of European Union limits on working hours. The Government has opted out of the directive, despite rebellion by Labour MPs (HW, 19 May). HTA director general David Gwyther said: “The HTA continues to support the Government’s stance. Employers need flexibility of labour use, particularly in highly seasonal industries like ours, and employees also want the opportunity to add to their incomes from time to time. “There is no obligation on employees to work significant additional hours. It is imperative that we avoid any further red tape being tied around our industry and that we work towards deregulation wherever possible.” The research was published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine. The Trades Union Congress says four million Britons work more than 48 hours a week.

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