While some are happy to have the extra hours and the opportunity to make more money, the pressure to work longer and harder can be immense, and if regular overtime is worked over a long period of time, it can take a toll. Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion can lead to an increase in the number of workplace accidents and to an increase in the number of workers’ compensation claims filed.
The Impact Of Exhaustion On The Body
The body can only do so much and employees who frequently work extra hours often end up exhausted from the constant juggling of work and home life, and sleep deprivation. Numerous studies have been conducted which show that when someone is overly tired:
- Thought Processes Are Slower: It becomes more difficult for anyone who is tired to pay attention and focus. It also affects the brain’s ability to process complex thought or do tasks that require logical reasoning.
- They Have Difficulty Learning New Things: Those new safety measures you’ve showed your employees? They may not remember how to properly put them in place if they are exhausted.
- Memory Gets Worse: Forgetfulness and the misplacement of tools are often signs of an employee who is overly tired.
- Reaction Times Are Slower: The time it takes to react to a hazard is sometimes the one thing that could stop a potential accident. Faster reaction times can prevent an accident from happening.
- Irritability and Anger Become An Issue: So much so, in fact, that according to The American Institute of Stress, the U.S. has the highest violent crime rate in the workplace of any industrialized nation.
Further investigation by the National Center for Biotechnology into how constant overtime can impact employees revealed that working a job that included an overtime schedule resulted in a 61% higher injury rate compared to jobs that did not offer overtime.
Why Do Employers Pressure Workers To Do OT?
Some employers argue that although they are required to pay employees time and a half for any overtime hours worked, it is still cheaper to do this than hire, train, and pay the insurance costs for another worker. Often this is true – if there are four employees who are willing to work an extra ten hours a week, that is the 40 hour work week someone else would have done.
Additionally, even if an employee is injured due to their exhaustion on the job, the employer is safe from having to pay for their medical expenses as long as they have workers’ compensation insurance. But having the insurance and making the insurance company pay the injured employee are two very different things.
The Normalcy Of Denials
Unfortunately, a large percentage of workers’ compensation claims are denied every day. While workers’ compensation insurance companies were formed to help injured workers, they are business that are focused on making money. The more money they pay out in claims, the less money they make for the company. This is why companies frequently train their adjusters to find ways to reduce the amount paid out in claims or to find a reason to deny the claim entirely.
Once a claim has been denied, it can be appealed, but the appeal process can take months. That’s months without the money that you and your loved ones need.
How Can I Prevent Or Appeal A Denial?
The best way to make sure that you do everything correctly from the beginning is to work with a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
Workers’ compensation attorneys can guide you through the process of filing a claim, help you fill out the correct forms, assist you with any recorded statements you may need to make to the insurance company, and stay on top of the insurance company to make sure that they are doing everything properly and in a timely manner.
In the event that your claim has been denied, an attorney can inform you of all of your options regarding an appeal and the process of filing one. They can also represent you at any hearings.
Most importantly, an attorney can review your case and determine if you may also be eligible to pursue legal action against a third party by filing a personal injury complaint.
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