The relationship between long working hours and health in young workers

Reynolds AC, Bucks RS, Paterson JL, Ferguson SA, Mori TA, McArdle N, Straker L, Beilin LJ, Eastwood PR May 2018 Int Arch Occup Environ Health; 91(4):403-412.

Publication date: May 2018

Keywords: cardiometabolic, health, raine study, shiftwork, sleep, working hours

What is already known about this subject:

  • Long working hours are associated with poorer health outcomes in middle-aged and older workers.
  • Long working hours are also associated with less sleep.
  • However, there is little known about these associations in young workers which limits understanding of when interventions and education are required to improve worker well-being.

What this study adds

  • Raine Study Gen2 data used was collected at the 22 year follow-up through questionnaires and the on-site health and sleep sessions. We identified that there are no early, sub-clinical changes in factors that increases a person’s chances of developing heart disease in young workers who work longer than the FairWork Australia guideline of 38 hours a week.
  • Longer working weeks were found in those who were predominantly employed in the mining and construction industries.
  • Individuals who reported longer working weeks slept significantly less than their shorter working week counterparts; this was true for both male and female respondents.
  • These findings are important for highlighting the impacts of working hours on health early in young workers’ careers, and to promote the importance of early education and intervention around working hours and health outcomes.
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Areas of Interest