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Graveyard shift An Oxford University study concludes the classification of night work as a cause of breast cancer ‘is no longer justified’. Cancer Research UK says women should be ‘reassured’. But Hazards discovered the research may have got it seriously wrong, with devastating consequences for prevention. Hazards 136, October-December 2016

Tired Out Work-related fatigue can be very bad for your safety and your health. But Hazards editor Rory O’Neill says union safety reps can play a crucial role in stopping employers wringing ever more work out of fewer workers.
Hazards 135, July-September 2016

While you were sleeping There’s lots of advice on what we work with and where we work, from chemicals to work at heights. But when it comes to when we work, it’s an entirely different matter – and, says Andrew Watterson, for shiftworkers that could be a serious problem. Hazards 106, April-June 2009News release

Drop dead It's the thoroughly modern way to die at work. Top occupational diseases of the 21st century will be heart attacks, suicide and strokes. Hazards argues that none of us should be worked into the ground.
Special online briefing, Hazards, 5 August 2003
Worked to death factsheet. Hazards 83, July-September 2003 [pdf format]

Not what we bargained for We have never been more productive, and we are rewarded with temporary contracts, long hours and back breaking workloads. Hazards lists the top 20 questions union reps should ask on workplace change and gives pointers on a better way to work. Hazards 69, January-March 2000 [pdf]

Overwork Fatigue, long hours and pressure of work are causing sudden deaths and burn-out and leaving us in a hazy, half-exhausted world where a breakdown of body and mind is a real and constant threat.
Hazards 49, January-March 1995

Work schedules and hours resources


NIOSH work schedules and long work hours webpages, USA

Plain language about shiftwork ,NIOSH, USA, 1997 [pdf]

Control over work hours and alternative work schedules, AFL-CIO bargaining factsheet, USA [pdf].

Unhealthy Work , USA.

HSE shiftwork webpages, UK

HSE shiftwork good practice guidelines, UK

The development of a fatigue/risk index for shiftworkers, HSE report RR446, HSE, UK.

HSE fatigue calculator, UK [excel file] and guidance document [pdf]

TUC working time webpages

TUC Working Time Myths report, 27 April 2009. [pdf]

Working Time Regulations, BERR website.

National Work Stress Network, UK.

ACTU reasonable hours campaign, Australia.




Australia: Right to disconnect essential for workers - ACTU
The ACTU is calling for a clear mechanism to grant workers the right to disconnect and restore work-life balance. On 10 June 2024, ACTU submitted its 'Right to Disconnect' proposal to the Fair Work Commission offering a draft model clause on how the mechanism would operate. The proposal would mandate employers to avoid unnecessary after-hours contact.
ACTU news release, 11 June 2024

UK workers put in £26bn in unpaid overtime
UK workers put in £26 billion worth of unpaid overtime during the last year, according to a TUC analysis. Unpaid overtime is more common in the public sector, with teachers doing more than any other job, the union body found, and is urging ministers must set an example by reducing unpaid overtime in the public sector.
TUC news release. 23 February 2024

North Macedonia: Dangerous work hours plan condemned
A proposed labour law amendment in North Macedonia would dramatically and dangerously increase working hours, global union confederation ITUC has warned. The rule change submitted to the Assembly of North Macedonia on 8 May would allow employers to increase working hours to 60 or even 72-hours per week.
ITUC news release and letter to the government of North Macedonia. 17 May 2023

Britain: TUC slams plan to scrap working hours rules
Workers’ rights and safety will be put at risk by plan to scrap EU working hours rules, the TUC has said. Commenting on the measures, included in the Department for Business and Trade’s ‘Smarter regulation to grow the economy’ report and one of the exceptions from the government’s REUL rowback, TUC general secretary Paul Nowak warned the move was “a gift to rogue employers looking to exploit workers and put them through long, gruelling shifts without enough rest.”
The Guardian. Morning Star. Lexology. 17 May 2023

Britain: Red tape cut means misery for workers
The government’s announcement that it is removing the requirement on employers to record how many hours employees work has been branded a “boost for bad bosses” by Unite. Unite said lifting the duty on employers to record night work is ‘especially worrying’ as working excessive periods at night has been linked with an increased risk of developing cancer and diabetes.
Unite news release. Morning Star. 17 May 2023

Britain: Government work hours plan means burnt out Britain
Any government attempt to undermine key working hours protections such as rest breaks, limits on excessive hours and paid holiday, is a recipe for a low paid, burnt out Britain, the TUC has said. Commenting on media reports the government is set to dilute or remove protections introduced under the EU Working Time Directive, TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: “People are already working all hours to make ends meet. Paid holiday and safety measures like rest breaks and limits on excessive hours are all fundamental protections – not a nice-to-have.”
The Telegraph. The Express. 10 May 2023

Britain: New Boohoo shame over warehouse work
More than 200 low paid Boohoo workers at the firm’s giant warehouse in Crick, Northamptonshire, have lodged a collective grievance against the imposition of ‘unconscionable’ shift changes. Unite said the workers are angry that the new shift patterns will leave the mostly female workforce having only one weekend off in every five.
Unite news release. 12 April 2023

Britain: Teachers average 54-hour work week
Teachers are working 54 hours a week on average – with about 13 of these falling outside of the normal school day, an NASUWT survey indicates. Nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) of teachers surveyed said their workload has increased over the last year, according to a poll by the teaching union.
NASUWT news release. Morning Star. 12 April 2023

Britain: Teachers working 12-hour days - leaked report
Almost a quarter of teachers in England are working 12-hour days, according to a leaked government report. The research, commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE), was carried out in Spring 2022 and has not yet been made public.
BBC News Online. Frank Pega, Bálint Náfrádi, Natalie C Momena and others. Global, regional, and national burdens of ischemic heart disease and stroke attributable to exposure to long working hours for 194 countries, 2000–2016: A systematic analysis from the WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury, Environment International, volume 154, September 2021. 5 April 2023

South Korea: Government backtracks on 69-hour week
South Korea’s government has been forced to reconsider its plan to increase working hours after facing heavy criticism about health concerns. The backlash prompted the presidential office to order the government to re-examine the proposed bill and better “its communication with the public to seek improvements”.
SBS News. 22 March 2023

South Korea: Anger at 69-hour work week proposal
South Korea’s conservative government has proposed increasing the legal cap on weekly work hours from 52 to 69 hours, triggering backlash from the opposition and wage earners. The move is opposed by unions and opposition parties, who say South Koreans toil more than many of their overseas counterparts.
Financial Times. Washington Post. The Spokesman Review.
Frank Pega, Bálint Náfrádi, Natalie C Momena and others. Global, regional, and national burdens of ischemic heart disease and stroke attributable to exposure to long working hours for 194 countries, 2000–2016: A systematic analysis from the WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury, Environment International, volume 154, September 2021. 15 March 2023

Britain: UK workers put in £26bn in unpaid overtime last year
UK employers claimed £26 billion of free labour last year because of workers doing unpaid overtime, according to new analysis by the TUC. The union body was commenting on 24 February – this year’s Work Your Proper Hours Day. TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said “employers shouldn’t rely on unpaid overtime – that’s just exploitation.”
TUC news release. 7 March 2023

Britain: Zero hours contracts hit record high
The union GMB has accused Rishi Sunak of presiding over a ‘tidal wave’ of insecure work after zero hours employment hit its highest rate in history. New official figures show that 1,133,441 people were employed on a zero hours contract in October to December 2022, an increase of 8.5 per cent on the previous three months.
GMB news release. 22 February 2023

Britain: Honest Burgers faces backlash over unpaid breaks
Honest Burgers is facing a backlash after it said it intended to ‘fire and rehire’ its workers if they do not accept the loss of paid breaks. Comments on social media dubbed the firm ‘Dishonest Burgers’ and ‘Greedy Burgers’ and called for a boycott unless the proposal is withdrawn.
TUC Instagram post. Evening Standard. The Caterer. 15 February 2023

Britain: Petrofac workers strike over rotas
A 48-hour strike commenced on 8 February on BP Petrofac installations, in a dispute over rotas. The latest action, involving around 80 Unite members, came as negotiations with Petrofac failed to reach a breakthrough.
Unite news release. 15 February 2023

Britain: Soaring levels of zero hours contracts in over-50s
Zero hours contracts among the over-50s have reached their highest level since records began, according to new analysis of official government statistics. There are nearly 300,000 people aged 50 and older with zero hours contracts, the highest number for this age group since records began in 2013 and almost double the number 10 years ago, from 149,000 in October to December 2013 to 296,000 in July to September 2022.
Rest Less news release. The Guardian. More on the hazards of insecure work.10 January 2023

Britain: Scottish shopworkers say give us a break
Retail trade union Usdaw is calling on the Scottish government to reverse its opposition to giving retail workers a proper festive break. The Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading (Scotland) Act 2007 prohibits trading in most large shops on Christmas Day and gave powers to the Scottish government to stop the opening of those shops on New Year's Day.
Usdaw news release. 21 December 2022

Britain: There should be a right to flexible work
Employees will be given the right to ask for flexible working from their first day at a new job, the government has proposed. New legislation will mean that workers will not have to wait for 26 weeks to seek flexible arrangements, as set out under the current law – but remains only a right to ‘ask’.
BBC News Online. 7 December 2022

Britain: Pilots start fatigue talks with Jet2
A collective conciliation process to resolve scheduling and rostering issues has started between the airline Jet2 and the pilots’ union BALPA. The union said although no agreement was reached at the 23 November meeting at Acas, both sides “hope to draw a line under recent events and move into the New Year working constructively together.”
BALPA news release. 30 November 2022

Britain: Night workers face lower pay and higher risks
The 3.2 million workers who regularly work nights face lower pay and higher work-related risks to their health, the TUC has warned.  The TUC adds that in addition to no evidence of ‘premium pay’, the health risks of regular night work include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression and adds workers, particularly women, are at greater risk of harassment and attacks in their journey to and from work when it’s late at night.
TUC news release. 3 November 2022

Britain: Most workers want shorter working week - survey
Most workers in industries including the engineering, shipbuilding and automotive sectors want a shorter working week with no loss of pay, according to new research. A survey of almost 2,400 workers by the Institute of Employment Rights (IER) showed that more than nine out of 10 supported a cut in the working week. The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU), which conducted the poll, said the majority of respondents believed the most important benefit would be a better work-life balance and improved mental and physical health.
Morning Star. 21 October 2022

Britain: Serco workers strike over impossible rosters
Royal Navy vessels using the dockyard at Plymouth will be unable to refuel on 7 and 8 October as barge crews take strike action over the imposition of a punishing rota system. The dozen barge crew workers, who are members of Unite, are in dispute with their employer, outsourcing giant Serco, over the imposition an ‘impossible’ roster.
Unite news release. Risks 1062. 6 October 2022

Britain: Milk disruption continues over bad Muller rotas
HGV drivers and shunters at Mullers’ Stonehouse factory in Gloucestershire are taking further strike action over imposed rota changes they say are detrimental to their quality of life. The change to a five days on, two days off rota system contravenes an agreement with Unite signed by the company earlier this year.
Unite news release. Risks 1060. 23 September 2022

Britain: ‘Nation of grafters’ has earned more breaks
The government should create four new public holidays, the TUC has said. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Some politicians have been calling UK workers lazy,” adding: “But we work some of the longest hours in Europe and we get the fewest public holidays.”
Morning Star. 7 September 2022

Britain: BALPA calls out Jet2 on unsafe pilot rosters
The UK pilots’ union BALPA has said it is dismayed at the airline and holiday company Jet2’s refusal to address the fatigue and stress caused by pilot roster disruption. BALPA national officer Terry Brandon said: “BALPA recently wrote to Jet2 management on behalf of our members to offer to work collaboratively with the company on scientific, evidence-based fatigue analysis using our in-house experts. Jet2 refused, saying that although they take safety ‘extremely seriously’, they ‘do not wish, and are not obliged, to engage with BALPA on these matters’.”
BALPA news release. Risks 1054. 3 August 2022

Global: Shift workers ‘can’t all adjust to a night shift’
A new study has challenged the widespread belief that shift workers adjust to the night shift. Using data drawn from wearable tech, the study found the more years they had been on night work, the more severe the circadian disruption, contradicting assumptions about adaptation to night work.
University of Warwick news release.  Digital circadian and sleep health in individual hospital shift workers: A cross sectional telemonitoring study, eBioMedicine, Volume 81, 104121, 1 July 2022. DOI: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2022.104121   26 July 2022

Britain: Aviation workers suffering as work hours soar
Aviation workers across the entire sector are working excessive hours to keep air traffic functioning, research by Unite has found. In some cases the number of shifts being offered to individual employees is so great that Unite is becoming increasingly concerned about worker and passenger safety due to exhaustion and fatigue.
Unite news release. 26 Jul 2022

Britain: Rail firms criticised after fatigue near miss
A rail maintenance firm and Network Rail have been told to improve management systems after driver fatigue was linked to two trains almost colliding in Leicestershire, with officials noting just 10 seconds separated the engines from disaster. The findings made by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) follow investigations into the near miss at Sileby Junction, near Loughborough, when a rail grinding train and an empty passenger train almost collided on 5 May 2021.
RAIB news release. Leicester Mercury. 13 July 2022

Britain: Film industry rethink on working culture
The British Film Institute (BFI) has acknowledged that long hours working remains a persistent problem for the industry and that more support should be provided for its freelance workforce. The BFI’s Skills Review examined the needs for training and skills development across the production sector for scripted film and high-end television and made recommendations to address increasing pressure on the industry.
Bectu news release. 5 July 2022

Britain: Pilot fury at Wizz Air boss work-while-fatigued call
The UK pilots’ union BALPA is warning safety must not be put on the backburner as airlines race to recover after Covid and return to profitability. BALPA was responding to ‘unacceptable’ comments made by the Wizz Air CEO József Váradi, who indicated pilots should be more willing to work when fatigued.
BALPA news release. Wizz Air comments. The Guardian. 14 June 2022

Britain: Pilot fury at Wizz Air boss work-while-fatigued call
The UK pilots’ union BALPA is warning safety must not be put on the backburner as airlines race to recover after Covid and return to profitability. BALPA was responding to ‘unacceptable’ comments made by the Wizz Air CEO József Váradi, who indicated pilots should be more willing to work when fatigued.
BALPA news release. Wizz Air comments. The Guardian. 14 June 2022

Britain: Warning on NHS ‘no breaks, no food’ culture
Overstretched NHS staff often have no time for breaks or food during their shifts and are worried this is affecting their ability to do their jobs, according to a UNISON survey. More than half (53 per cent) said they are unable to take regular breaks and almost one in six (16 per cent) only have time to grab snacks like crisps or chocolate during busy shifts.
UNISON news release. 8 June 2022

Britain: Education unions warn about work overload
Work overload is adversely affecting the health and welfare of teachers and lecturers, their unions have warned. A meeting of leaders from 10 education unions in the British and Irish Group of Teacher Unions (BIGTU) called on policy makers to prioritise action to tackle the problem.
EIS news release. Risks 1044. 10 May 2022

Britain: Ambulance workers exhausted by unprecedented demand
A damning snapshot of the ambulance service released ahead of the UNISON health conference in Liverpool shows that staff are so overwhelmed by months of unprecedented demand they are suffering emotional breakdowns, chronic anxiety and stress, with many on anti-depressants. The union said staff shortages, lack of capacity in hospitals due to Covid and long-term underfunding have all contributed to “major problems” over the past few months.
UNISON news release. Morning Star. Risks 1042. 26 April 2022

Britain: Unworkable workload could drive out teachers
A poll shows nearly half of teachers in England plan to quit within the next five years. The teaching union NEU) found 44 per cent of teachers plan to leave the profession by 2027, with its survey of 1,788 teachers find a fifth (22 per cent) said they would leave within two years, and more than half of respondents (52 per cent) said the workload was “unmanageable” or “unmanageable most of the time”, up from 35 per cent in 2021.
NEU news release. The Guardian. Risks 1040. 13 April 2022

Global: Teleperformance blighted by poor work standards
A report from the global union UNI has exposed widespread workers’ rights problems throughout Teleperformance’s global, 400,000 employee, call centre business. ‘Not a Great Place to Work: The Case for Building a Better Workplace at Teleperformance’ documents unpaid work, health and safety complaints, excessive worker surveillance and aggressive trade union avoidance in eleven countries.
UNI news release and report, Teleperformance - Not a Great Place to Work, UNI, March 2022. Risks 1038. 29 March 2022

Britain: Business and transport failing late-night workers
Nearly six in ten workers (58 per cent) report that their employers have never provided them with safe transport home after work, a new poll for Unite has found. The union poll also confirmed that people feel it has become less safe when travelling home at night and that public transport is not a decent option because there are too few staff (51 per cent), the wait for a bus or train is too long (48 per cent), streets and stations are badly lit (44 per cent) and the services are unreliable (45 per cent).
Unite news release and Get me home safely campaign. Agreement reached after negotiations between Unite and East Dunbartonshire council. Risks 1038. 29 March 2022

Korea: Logistics union says no to death from overwork
An agreement negotiated by the Korean CJ Logistics Delivery Workers Union has been described as a step forward in addressing the working conditions that cause death from overwork in the logistics sector. In December the union, part of the Korean Federation of Service Workers Unions (KFSU), had taken strike action against CJ Logistics, Korea’s largest logistic company; the strike ended on 3 March 2022, after the CJ Logistics-Agency Association finally approached the union to negotiate a settlement.
UNI news release. Risks 1037. 24 March 2022

Britain: Always-on culture is a significant problem
The right to disconnect is supported by a clear majority of workers, new data from Ipsos has revealed. Despite 67 per cent of the UK workforce having work-related communications outside of their working day, more than half think it is unacceptable to do so, the world’s third largest market researcher found.
Prospect news release. City AM. Risks 1036. 16 March 2022

Britain: UK workers put in £27 billion in unpaid overtime
UK employers claimed £27 billion of free labour last year because of workers doing unpaid overtime, according to a new analysis published by the TUC. Commenting on 25 February, the TUC’s 18th annual Work Your Proper Hours Day, the union body said 3.8 million people did unpaid overtime in 2021, putting in an average of 7.6 unpaid hours a week.
TUC news release. Wales TUC news release. Risks 1034. 2 March 2022

Britain: ‘Unsustainable’ rise in teachers' working hours
An ‘unsustainable’ rise in teachers’ working hours must be tackled, teaching union NASUWT has said. General secretary Dr Patrick Roach said: “Teachers yet again rank among the professions working the highest number of hours, with the TUC’s figures suggesting both an increase in the number of teachers undertaking unpaid overtime in 2021 and a rise in the number of unpaid extra hours worked.”
NASUWT news release and wellbeing survey. Risks 1034. 2 March 2022

Britain: Teachers ranked high on the overwork league table
The appearance of teachers yet again high on league table of professions working the most unpaid overtime demonstrates the need for urgent action, teaching union NEU has said. Commenting on an analysis released by the TUC for Work Your Proper Hours Day on 25 February, NEU joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: “This is not a sustainable situation, and it is leading to burnout.”
NEU news release. Risks 1034. 2 March 2022

Britain: Cambridge tutors criticise ‘explosive workloads’
Cambridge University lecturers are accusing the institution of pressuring them into taking on “explosive workloads” to deliver its famous one-on-one tutorials. A survey of university teaching officers (UTOs) by the University and College Union (UCU) Cambridge branch found that a third (35 per cent) felt they could not refuse requests from peers and superiors to take on extra weekly tutorials, or “supervisions” as they are known, even though nearly half of those surveyed said they would like to deliver fewer of them.
UCU Cambridge branch meeting alert. The Guardian. Risks 1034. 2 March 2022

China: New concerns after tech worker ‘overwork’ death
Claims that another Chinese tech worker has died after excessive overtime have reignited debate over the industry’s “996 culture”. Bilibili, the Chinese video streaming company listed in New York and Hong Kong where the 25-year-old was employed as a content auditor, said company representatives went to the hospital to assist and then notified his family
South China Morning Post. Bloomberg. The Guardian. More on the hazards of overwork. Risks 1032. 9 February 2022

Belgium: Civil servants get the right to disconnect
Belgian civil servants will no longer need to answer emails or phone calls out of normal working hours after the country became the latest in Europe to offer workers the right to disconnect. The law, which took effect on 1 February, means 65,000 federal officials are able to make themselves unavailable at the end of the normal working day unless there are “exceptional” reasons for not doing so.
The Guardian. Prospect ‘right to disconnect’ campaign. Risks 1031. 2 February 2022

Britain: Get lunch in McDonald’s, ambulance workers told
Ambulance workers have expressed fury after an ambulance trust told them to take their lunch breaks in the nearest McDonald’s. In December 2021, North East Ambulance Trust (NEAS) announced its paramedics will - from January - be told to take lunch breaks at hospitals or their nearest ambulance station, rather than returning to base, their union GMB said, with workers were also told to head to their nearest McDonald’s or to eat in their ambulance in a bid to improve response times.
GMB news release. Risks 1027. 4 January 2022

Britain: Scotland moves on ‘right to disconnect’
The Scottish government has become the first in the UK to announce support for a ‘right to disconnect’ for staff working for government departments and devolved agencies. In a move welcomed by the union Prospect, the Scottish government announced that there is an expectation that bodies responsible to Scottish ministers will have meaningful discussions on a right to disconnect.
Prospect news release and research and guide on the right to disconnect. Risks 1026. 15 December 2021

Britain: London bus strikes looming over shifting shifts
Bus passengers in South and West London face disruption and delays this winter as drivers at Abellio ballot for industrial action in a dispute over shifts their unions says will push up stress and make workers ill. The dispute relates to the company’s scheduling agreement, which establishes a driver’s shift patterns for a year.
Unite news release.
Loughborough University: Bus Driver Fatigue – Final Report, August 2019. Risks 1023. 23 November 2021

Portugal: Bosses banned from messaging staff after hours
Portugal has banned bosses from text messaging and emailing staff out of working hours as part of new laws dubbed the “right to rest.” Companies with more than 10 staff could face fines if they contact employees outside their contracted hours and there are also new rules on allowing staff with children to work remotely.
BBC News Online. Prospect ‘right to disconnect’ campaign. Risks 1022. 17 November 2021

Britain: Night Tube plan places ‘impossible’ demands on staff
Tube union RMT has warned plans for the reintroduction of the Night Tube in London will place ‘unacceptable and intolerable demands’ on staff. A statement from the union’s national executive said RMT “has made every effort to reach an agreement with LUL [London Underground Ltd] that allows for the staffing of night-tube services without imposing unacceptable additional night and weekend working onto our members.”
RMT news release. Risks 1022. 17 November 2021

Britain: New lorry driving rules risk road safety
The UK government’s decision to press ahead with a relaxation of the rules on consecutive deliveries or pick-ups by overseas drivers risks the safety of all road users, Unite has warned. In an attempt to lessen the problems caused by a shortage of lorry drivers, the Department for Transport has relaxed the rules on foreign lorries making deliveries and collecting goods in the UK.
Unite news release and news release on lorry driver professional competency (CPC) reforms. Risks 1021. 10 November 2021

Britain: Night workers face low paid and high risks - TUC
The TUC is calling for better pay and conditions for the 3.2 million workers who regularly work nights. The TUC said employers should consider health hazards of night working and take responsibility for workers safely travelling to and from the workplace.
TUC news release. Wales TUC news release. Risks 1020. 4 November 2021

Britain: Overworked mental health care workers want action
Mental health care workers in the north-west of England have voted to strike against bosses’ plans to make them work seven days a week. The Morning Star reports Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust has asked the 25 UNISON members, who help “extremely vulnerable people,” to “volunteer” to increase their working week from five days to seven days.
Morning Star. Risks 1019. 26 October 2021

Australia: Screen crew at risk from deadly fatigue
A screen industry culture is leading to potentially deadly levels of fatigue, a ‘Wake Up Call’ survey by the Australian media union MEAA has revealed. It found two in three workers have fallen asleep behind the wheel either driving home from work or driving to work.
MEAA news release. Risks 1018. 20 October 2021

Britain: Co-op festive move ‘a step in the right direction’
Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed ‘as a step in the right direction’ the Co-op Group closing its stores earlier on Christmas Eve and operating reduced hours on Boxing Day. Usdaw national officer John Gorle responded: “Many retailers are taking a different approach to opening stores over the festive period and, following extensive discussions with the company, these changes are a step in the right direction from the Co-op.”
Usdaw news release. Risks 1018. 20 October 2021

Britain: Deliveries rule relaxation means more driver misery
The UK government’s announcement that it intends to relax lorry driving rules to allow foreign hauliers to make more consecutive deliveries will result in more driver misery and exploitation, the union Unite has warned. Under the present ‘cabotage’ rules, foreign haulage companies from Europe can send lorry drivers to make just two deliveries before they have to leave the UK – but the government intends to change this rule so that European haulage companies can require their drivers to make unlimited collections and deliveries during a two week period.
Unite news release. BBC News Online. Risks 1018. 20 October 2021

Britain: Longer lorry driver hours ‘dangerous’ warns union
News that the government has further extended the relaxation of lorry driver hours has been met with anger and dismay by the drivers’ union Unite. Commenting on the 30 September UK government confirmation of the one-month extension, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is yet another knee-jerk response to a crisis which has been building for nearly 20 years - and the blame for that lies entirely at the door of the employers, and their willing partners, the government.”
Unite news release. Risks 1017. 13 October 2021

Britain: Government didn’t check if driving rules move was safe
Unite’s concerns about the ‘dangerous’ decision to extend the relaxation of lorry driver working hour limits have been reinforced after the UK government admitted it had failed to undertake any related safety impact assessment. According to Unite, which represents tens of thousands of UK lorry drivers, the Department for Transport (DfT) has admitted in correspondence to the union that “there is not an impact assessment” of the ongoing extension to the maximum number of hours a lorry driver can drive.
Unite news release. Risks 1017. 13 October 2021

Britain: Bectu welcomes move to a 12-hour max shoots
Film and TV technicians and craft union Bectu has welcomed a new 12-hour maximum shoot day announced by the Advertising Producers Association (APA), the trade body for production companies, animation, VFX, immersive, sound design, music and editing companies making commercials. Announcing the changes, APA said from 1 November “shoots shall not be scheduled to go beyond 12 hours (11 hours plus one hour for lunch) from the main unit call time and unscheduled overtime beyond that time for the main unit shall be avoided in all but the most extreme circumstances and shall be limited as far as possible.”
APA news story. BECTU news release. Risks 1017. 13 October 2021

Britain: Unite slams ‘reckless’ extension of driving limit
A UK government plan to continue the relaxation of maximum driving timing for lorry drivers is dangerous, reckless and potentially illegal, Unite has warned. The union said it has learned that the government is undertaking a technical consultation on continuing the relaxation on driving hours from 4 October until 23 January.
Unite news release. RoSPA news release. Risks 1015. 23 September 2021

Britain: Poundland spreads the seasonal cheer
Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed Poundland thanking its 18,000 staff by again deciding to close stores on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. The bargain retailer is the latest chain to announce festive closures, joining Sainsbury's, Argos, Habitat, Aldi, Morrisons, Waitrose, Home Bargains, Pets at Home and Marks & Spencer.
Usdaw news release. Risks 1015. 23 September 2021

Britain: Food union takes aim at 12-hour shifts
Supply chain issues hobbling the food industry won’t be resolved until workers in the sector are given decent working conditions, the GMB has said. The union said unsustainable working practices, long shifts and low wages “are the real cause of supply chain crisis in the meat industry that is strangling the economy.”
GMB news release. Risks 1013. 8 September 2021

Britain: Give UK workers four more bank holidays
Workers in England and Wales are being fobbed off with a “stingy” number of bank holidays, the TUC has said. The union body is calling for a new public holiday between September and Christmas.
TUC news release. ETUC news release. BBC News Online. The Guardian. The Mirror. Risks 1012. 2 September 2021

Britain: Shifts ‘significantly associated’ with heart problems
Long-term night shifts are “significantly associated” with heart-related health problems in UK workers, according to a new study. Researchers from China, Hong Kong, the USA and Sweden examined UK data and found working late hours was linked with irregular and fast heart rate, with women potentially at greater risk; working night shifts also increased the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), according to the paper published in the European Heart Journal.
Ningjian Wang and others. Long-term night shift work is associated with the risk of atrial fibrillation and coronary heart disease, European Heart Journal, 2021;, ehab505. Published 10 August 2021. The Independent. Risks 1010. 19 August 2021

Britain: Report backs right to disconnect
Working from home during the pandemic has caused an “epidemic of hidden overtime” that particularly affects women and demonstrates the need for a new “right to disconnect” law, according a report from the Autonomy thinktank. As part of the report, Autonomy proposed draft legislation that would create a right to disconnect, based on French law, which stipulates employees do not have to take calls or read emails related to work during their time off.
The right to disconnect, Autonomy, August 2021. Prospect ‘Right to disconnect’ campaign. The Guardian. The Mirror. Risks 1010. 19 August 2021

Britain: Morrisons to give staff a Boxing Day break
Retail union Usdaw has welcomed the announcement that Morrisons will close their supermarkets on Boxing Day to say thank you to their staff. Usdaw national officer Joanne McGuiness said: “Key workers have done so much this year and we are asking retailers to give their staff the longest possible break over the festive season to provide them with a well-deserved breather.”
Usdaw news release. Evening Standard. BBC News Online. Sky News. Risks 1009. 11 August 2021

Britain: Rail near miss findings show need for action now
Rail union TSSA has called for better terms and conditions for train driver managers, following a Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) report which identified “high turnover of driver managers, insufficient driver managers in post and their high workload” as a contributing factor to a near miss, as they did not effectively manage safety-related risk associated with the driver involved in the incident.
TSSA news release. RAIB report. Risks 1007, 29 July 2021

Britain: Industry backlash against longer lorry driver hours
A temporary extension of lorry drivers' working hours introduced by the UK government  has been met with a backlash from unions and the industry, who say the government is applying a "sticking plaster" to driver shortage problems. HGV drivers can now increase their daily driving limits from nine to 10 hours or change weekly rest patterns.
RHA news release. Logistics UK news release. DfT/DVSA guidance, updated 7 July 2021. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 1005. 14 July 2021

Extending lorry drivers’ hours could kill
Unions have said the government decision to extend the hours lorry drivers can work is a dangerous mistake. Unite national officer for road transport, Adrian Jones, said: “Asking an already exhausted workforce to work even longer is likely to make an already difficult situation worse.” The Unite officer said: “Unite will be advising its members to not place themselves in danger and that if they are too tired to drive safely they have a legal right to refuse to do so.”
Unite news release and manifesto for change. RMT news release. Usdaw news release. Risks 1005. 14 July 2021

Britain: Yodel faces ‘complete standstill’ over unworkable schedules
Delivery giant Yodel faces a summer of strikes that could bring its entire network to a standstill, the GMB has warned. The company has imposed “unworkable” driver schedules and “robbed” drivers of annual leave by reneging on long-standing agreements, the union said
GMB news release. Morning Star. Risks 1005. 14 July 2021

Britain: Flexible work needed as people urged to return
The TUC has called for right to work flexibly to be extended as people are urged to return to the office. Responding to the 5 July announcement by the prime minister that the work from home guidance will be withdrawn from 19 July, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “As the work from home guidance ends, employers must acknowledge that one size does not fit all.”
TUC news release. Risks 1004. 7 July 2021

Britain: RMT blasts ferry firm for ‘appalling’ working practices
Seafarers’ union RMT has called for a boycott of Irish Ferries, warning that crew members face long hours and unsafe conditions on poverty pay. The union said that some workers on the firm’s new Dover-Calais route will be paid less than the national minimum wage to work at least 12 hours per day on a gruelling six-weeks-on, three-weeks-off basis.
RMT news release. Morning Star. Risks 1003. 30 June 2021

Britain: Construction must tackle long hours culture
The construction industry must tackle the dangerous long hours culture that afflicts the sector, Unite has said. The construction union made its call following the announcement that a number of major contractors are now embracing flexible working for their directly employed staff.
Unite news release. More on working hours hazards. Risks 1003. 30 June 2021

Britain: BME hugely ‘over-represented’ on zero hours contracts
Structural racism in the labour market is trapping Black and minority ethnic (BME) workers on low pay and in insecure work, the TUC and Race on the agenda (ROTA) have warned. A joint report from the organisations reveals around one in six zero hours contract workers are BME, even though BME workers make up just one in nine workers overall.
TUC news release. ROTA website. The Guardian.
More on the hazards of insecure work and low pay. Risks 1001. 16 June 2021

Britain: Unite hails victory in library late opening row
Unite members are celebrating victory in their dispute at Bromley Central Library over late night openings with fewer staff. Talks between the union and Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) led to an agreement that library staff will now work one late night a week, instead of up to four late nights a fortnight.
Unite news release. Risks 1000. 10 June 2021

Britain: Serco workers to strike in bullying and roster clash
Outsourced catering workers at the Royal London hospital in east London have voted for strike action in a row over ‘systematic bullying’ and ‘disastrous’ rosters. The Unite members report “the aggressive use of sickness absence triggers and the abuse of power in the allocation of shifts and holidays, which has left members at breaking point, during the pandemic.”
Unite news release. Risks 1000. 10 June 2021

Britain: Bromley library workers to strike over under-staffing
Bromley Central Library workers will strike over plans by their employer, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), to impose late-night openings with fewer staff, Unite has said. The 17 employees, members of Unite, voted unanimously in favour of strike action over a proposed change to working hours so that staff, instead of working one late night every two weeks, will work four late nights every two weeks.
Unite news release. Risks 999. 2 June 2021

Global: Long working hours are a major heart killer
Long working hours are killing hundreds of thousands of people a year, according to UN agencies. The first global study of its kind showed 745,000 people died in 2016 from stroke and heart disease due to long working hours; the report for the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) warned the trend may worsen due to the coronavirus pandemic.
ILO news release. WHO news release. Frank Pega, Bálint Náfrádi, Natalie C Momena and others. Global, regional, and national burdens of ischemic heart disease and stroke attributable to exposure to long working hours for 194 countries, 2000–2016: A systematic analysis from the WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury, Environment International, online 17 May 2021, Corrected Proof. BBC News Online. Risks 997. 19 May 2021

Britain: Ministers urged end long hours abuse of chefs
Ministers need to tighten up legislation to stop chefs - one of the groups of employees from being pressurised into working more than 48 hours a week. Unite national officer for hospitality Dave Turnbull said: “We are calling all chefs to protect their wellbeing by opting back into the 48-hour maximum working week and that contracts which make a 48-hour ‘opt out’ an employment condition to be outlawed.”
Unite news release. Risks 994. 28 April 2021

Britain: Short notice shifts are unsafe
The failure of many businesses to provide adequate notice of shift patterns is damaging workers’ health and destroying family lives, Unite has warned. The union was commenting after a survey by the Living Wage Foundation found where workers operated on variable hours or shifts, more than three-fifths (62 per cent) were only given notice of a week or less about when they would be working.
Unite news release. Living Wage Foundation news release. Risks 993. 22 April 2021

Britain: Devonport tugboat crew strikes over rostering dangers
Plymouth tugboat crews have taken two days strike action in a dispute over hazardous rostering patterns. About 40 Unite tractor tug crew members employed by Serco Marine at Devonport’s naval base walked out on 9-10 April, as part of a long-running dispute over the imposition of a new three weeks ‘on’ and three weeks ‘off’ roster.
Unite news release. Business Live. Risks 992. 14 April 2021

Britain: Unions slam sleep-in appeal decision
The 19 March judgment by the Supreme Court that social care staff are not entitled to the national minimum wage for every hour they work, including sleep-in shifts, is a huge blow for thousands across the country, UNISON has said. The ruling marks the end of a long-running UNISON-backed case taken on behalf of care worker Clare Tomlinson-Blake against her now former employer Mencap.
UNISON news release. GMB news release. Unite news release. The Guardian. Risks 990. 23 March 2021

Britain: Lorry drivers in Kent ‘persecuted’ union says
Lorry drivers in Kent are being fined and prevented from resting by Kent county council, despite parking provisions provided by authorities to deal with post-Brexit delays being ‘woefully inadequate’, Unite has said. Commenting on 15 January, the union blasted the council’s recently established HGV parking ban scheme and said drivers are being ‘persecuted’ for the council’s own lack of preparations.
Unite news release. Risks 981. 20 January 2021

Britain: Furlough working parents affected by school closures
Employers should offer furlough to all parents affected by school closures, the TUC has saidThe TUC says that this series of chaotic statements and a last-minute approach has left working parents in real difficulties, adding the job retention scheme allows bosses to furlough parents who can’t work due to a lack of childcare.
TUC news release. BBC News Online. Risks 979. 4 January 2021

Britain: GMB welcomes Asda u-turn on Boxing Day break
The union GMB has welcomed an Asda rethink that will see the majority of its stores closed on Boxing Day. GMB national officer Roger Jenkins said: “GMB has been requesting Asda to allow their key worker heroes family time over the Christmas period, so we are really pleased they have agreed to our calls.”
GMB news release. BBC News Online. Risks 978. 15 December 2020

Britain: Bradford bus drivers to strike over 'dangerous' shifts
Bus drivers in Bradford have voted to strike early next year in a dispute over ‘dangerous’ shifts introduced at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unite members at First West Yorkshire claim traffic and service levels are now “near normal”, but drivers are still working extended shifts.
Unite news release. BBC News Online. Risks 978. 15 December 2020

Britain: Sainsbury’s told to give its staff a break
Unite has accused Sainsbury’s of ‘acting like Scrooge’ by insisting that staff come in on Boxing Day after working extended opening hours in the run up to Christmas. The union is also concerned that workers on the extended late shift could face an unsafe journey home.
Unite news release. Risks 977. 9 December 2020

Britain: Opening stores round the clock is the wrong answer
Opening stores for 24 hours is not the answer to the retail industry's woes, retail union Usdaw has warned. The union said the UK government should avoid ‘fiddling at the edges’ and instead called for substantial action as part of a retail recovery plan to help the industry through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Usdaw news release and releases on Debenhams and Arcadia. Written statement from Robert Jenrick, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, 30 November 2020. TUC news release. BBC News Online. Risks 976. 2 December 2020

Britain: Co-op releases manifesto for night shift workers
A new ‘manifesto’ for night shift workers launched by the Co-op has been welcomed by the retail union Usdaw. The high street grocery chain, which says its manifesto is underpinned by ‘extensive scientific research’, notes: “The five Rs of this Manifesto – Recognition, Response, Respect, Research and Raising the profile – provide the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of more than 7 million workers in the UK.”
The manifesto for night shift workers, Co-op, November 2020. Risks 976. 2 December 2020

Global: Systemic failures on seafarers’ hours
New research has identified “systemic failures” in the implementation of the regulatory regime protecting seafarers’ hours of work and rest, undermining the credibility of international regulations relating to working hours. ‘A culture of adjustment’, a report from a team at the World Maritime University (WMU), confirms previous research that suggested recording malpractices are widespread, which seriously undermines the capacity of the current regulatory framework to prevent fatigue and mitigate its effects.
ITF Seafarers’ Trust news release. WMU report. Risks 974. 19 November 2020.

Britain: Asthma risk linked to permanent night shift work
Shift workers, especially those working permanent night shift rotas, may be at heightened risk of moderate to severe asthma, new UK research has indicated. The new findings, published online in the journal Thorax, found there was a 36 per cent increase in the odds of having moderate to severe asthma in permanent night shift workers compared to those working normal office hours, while the odds of wheeze or airway whistling were 11-18 per cent higher among those working any of the three shift patterns.
Maidstone R, Turner J, Vetter C and others. Night shift work is associated with an increased risk of asthma, Thorax, Published Online First: 16 November 2020. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2020-215218 Risks 974. 19 November 2020

RMT wants Serco thrown off the Caledonian Sleeper
Rail union RMT has launched a petition calling on Transport Scotland to take action to help resolve the union’s ongoing dispute with Caledonian Sleeper operator Serco over staff fatigue and safety. RMT says it has been seeking to reach a fair and reasonable resolution which addresses the main causes of staff fatigue over a period of months, but says Serco has continually refused to take action and rejected the union’s reasonable proposals.
RMT news release and petition. Risks 972. 7 November 2020

Korea: Overwork concern as another delivery worker dies
Unions in Korea are demanding rigorous safety measures to protect deliver workers after another death they say is linked to overwork. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) said the CJ Logistics worker, who was a 20-year veteran, had delivered around 400 parcels on average each day, working from 6:30am to around 9 to 10pm, adding: “Of the eight delivery workers who died from overworking, five of them worked for CJ Logistics.”
Korea Herald. Yonhap News. Risks 969. 17 October 2020

Britain: RMT members to strike for safety on Caledonian Sleeper
RMT members on the Caledonian Sleeper have voted in favour of strike action and action short of a strike in a safety dispute. The union said this showed the clear desire to take industrial action against private operator SERCO's lack of concern for members’ safety and wellbeing and the company's refusal to negotiate with their union.
RMT news release and strike talks update. Risks 967. 3 October 2020

Britain: UNISON in homecare worker travel time pay victory
The government must end the practice of employers denying care staff wages for time spent travelling between visits to the sick and elderly, UNISON has said. The call from the public sector union follows a significant legal victory by a group of homecare workers over illegal pay, in a case brought by UNISON.
UNISON news release. The Guardian. More on the hazards of low pay. Risks 965. 19 September 2020

Britain: Midwives missing out on breaks, report reveals
Overworked midwives are missing meals and loo breaks while at work as they do not have enough time to take them, union research has revealed. Midwives are also working additional unpaid hours, on top of long shifts, according to a survey of 980 professionals in England carried out by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).
RCM news release. Morning Star. Risks 962. 29 August 2020

Britain: Openreach warned over dangerous hours move
Openreach has been issued a ‘stern warning’ by the union CWU after it moved to impose ‘contractual overtime’. In a communication sent to the union’s regional co-ordinators across the UK, CWU assistant secretary Davie Bowman urged them to ensure full compliance with statutory working hours regulations and safe working procedures, insisting: “We will not allow the business to place any of our members at greater risk through additional attendance.”
CWU news release. Risks 961. 22 August 2020

Britain: Sunday trading move a ‘slap in the face’ for retail staff
The unions Usdaw and Unite have criticised government plans to relax Sunday trading rules, with Usdaw saying it would be ‘a slap in the face’ for the key retail workers that have toiled through the Covid-19 outbreak. Unite national officer Bev Clarkson said: “The government must understand that many retail workers have to work around childcare and by extending Sunday opening hours it will create additional stress and make it impossible for many workers to juggle work and their caring duties.”
Usdaw news release and related news release. Unite news release. Morning Star. The Times. Risks 951. 13 June 2020

Britain: Norfolk bus drivers demand an end to work fatigue
Bus drivers employed by Konectbus are demanding action to end a long hours culture of 14-hour days and short breaks, causing fatigue and exhaustion. Their union Unite is calling on the company’s management to enter into meaningful negotiations on working hours, and to reach an agreement to secure union representation for the workforce.  
Eastern Daily Press. Norwich Evening News.  Risks 938. 14 March 2020

Britain: Safety must be paramount on lorry driver hours
Transport union Unite has said lorry drivers are willing to be flexible to meet increased demands in the retail sector as a result of the coronavirus, but has said safety must not be compromised. The government announced it is relaxing restrictions on delivery hours for shops to make sure they remain stocked with basic items.
Unite news release. Defra news release. BBC News OnlineRisks 938. 14 March 2020

Britain: Two million workers losing out on holidays
A shocking 1 in 14 UK workers are not getting their legal holiday entitlement, a new TUC analysis has found. The union body estimates that nearly two million employees (1.96m) are not getting the minimum paid leave entitlement they are due and over a million (1.145m) are not getting any paid leave at all.
TUC news release.
RESOURCES: Fatigue - a guide for health and safety representatives, TUC, 2016. Work and suicide: A TUC guide to prevention for trade union activists, TUC, 2019. More on health and safety and long working hours. Risks 936. 29 February 2020
Britain: Government must ban zero hours contracts, says TUC 
The TUC has renewed its call for a ban on zero hours contracts, after new official figures showed the numbers affected had reached a record high. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures reveal 974,000 people are now employed on a “zero hour contract” in their main job, representing a record 3.0 per cent of all people in employment.
TUC news release, blog and ban zero hours contracts petition. Employment in the UK: February 2020, ONS.
More on the work-related hazards of low pay and insecure work. Risks 936. 29 February 2020

Switzerland: Nespresso workers won’t swallow more stress
Swiss union Unia has warned multinational Nestlé it will not tolerate changes that have left employees in the country’s Nespresso factories facing unbearable stress and fatigue. Members of the union demonstrated outside the company’s Lausanne base on 11 February to “denounce intolerable working conditions at the company's three Nespresso production sites in Switzerland.”
IUF news release. Risks 935. 22 February 2020.

Britain: ‘Sick and tired’ bus drivers vote for strike action
The prospect of a London bus drivers’ strike later this year has moved closer as Unite members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a consultative ballot. The dispute, branded the ‘sick and tired’ campaign by the union, concerns the long hours, fatigue and exhaustion that bus drivers are experiencing due to poor scheduling of shifts, a lack of rest breaks, a deficiency of decent facilities for breaks, late finishing, a lack of running time and not being treated with respect.
Unite news release and Sick and Tired campaign. Risks 934. 15 February 2020

Britain: Exhausted London bus drivers facing race to the bottom
Unite has warned London bus operators not to engage in a ‘race to the bottom’ by degrading drivers’ working conditions. The warning coincided with the union gearing up to hold a consultative ballot of all London bus driver members over long hours, fatigue and exhaustion.
Unite news release and Sick and Tired campaign. Risks 933. 8 February 2020

Britain: Union and business say end zero hours
Leading figures from unions, business and community organisations have called for new rights for workers to end exploitation through zero hours contracts. A Zero in on Zero Hours event, held at the TUC’s Congress House HQ on 13 January, considered how unions, good employers and voluntary sector organisations can campaign together in 2020 to put an end to the injustice of zero hours contracts.
TUC news release and research on zero hours contracts. Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 931. 25 January 2020

Britain: Exhausted bus drivers prepare for strike action
Bus drivers’ union Unite is warning that London could face gridlock if exhausted bus drivers have to resort to industrial action later this year. Unite is demanding a ‘revolution’ in how bus driving is scheduled to ensure that drivers can finish on time, are able to utilise all of their breaks, work to proper schedules, have enough running time to complete their journey, are treated with respect and receive proper training.
Unite news release. Risks 930. 18 January 2019

Japan: Advertising giant Dentsu breaks overtime pledge
Advertising giant Dentsu Inc has admitted it has received a warning from labour enforcement authorities over illegal overtime practices. Two years after being convicted over working practices involving long hours, which had led to the suicide of an employee, the global firm was found to have violated labour laws by again failing to curb overtime work.
Japan Times. Risks 927. 14 December 2019

Britain: Shifts and job stress linked to nurse’s suicide
A dedicated NHS nurse who had ‘nightmares about work’ killed herself after the stress of working 12-hour shifts left her unable to lead a normal life, an inquest has heard. Leona Goddard, 35, struggled to have a social life after being burdened with unpredictable work hours and extra responsibilities at Prestwich Hospital in Manchester.
Manchester Evening News. The Mirror. Daily Mail. Plymouth Herald.
More on work-related suicides. Work and suicide: A TUC guide to prevention for trade union activists . ‘Don’t despair’ pin-up-at-work suicide prevent poster.d
ACTION! Use the Hazards e-postcard to tell the HSE to inspect for work-related suicide risks and to investigate and require the reporting of suicides suspected to be work-related. Risks 925. 30 November 2019

Britain: ‘Scandal’ of 30,000 NHS zero hours contracts
At least 30,000 NHS workers in the UK are employed on zero hours contracts, a new GMB analysis of official figures has revealed. The union says the worsening situation has created a “pressured, demoralised and casualised workforce”.
GMB news release.
Sign the petition calling on the government to ban zero hours contracts. Risks 925. 30 November 2019

Japan: Microsoft four-day week shows less works better
Microsoft’s introduction of a four-day week without loss of pay for its employees in Japan led to a massive increase in productivity, the software giant has said. The Microsoft Japan trial began in August 2019, from when offices shut every Friday – and based on sales per employee, workers were almost 40 per cent more productive in the compressed hours of August 2019 as they were the same month a year earlier.
TUC blog. Sora News 24. Quartz at work. Risks 923. 16 November 2019

Britain: Older workers bear the brunt of night working growth
Older workers are represented disproportionately in Britain’s growing army of night workers, a new TUC analysis has found. The analysis of official data shows that 3.25 million people - more than 1 in 9
TUC news release and related release. The health and safety of older workers, TUC guide, 2014. More on older workers and health and safety. The Guardian. Risks 921. 2 November 2019

Britain: 'Don't sack 12,000 Asda workers just before Christmas'
GMB has written to Asda bosses calling on them not to sack 12,000 workers just before Christmas. In an open letter to senior vice-president Hayley Tatum, GMB urges the company to withdraw its threat to sack all workers who don’t sign the controversial Contract 6 on 2 November.
GMB news release. Risks 920. 26 October 2019

Britain: Tell the government to ban zero hours contracts!
The TUC is calling for an outright ban on zero hours contracts – and it wants your support. It says too many workers are being denied job security and can miss out on sick pay. Urging supporters to sign an online petition, the TUC says if ministers are serious about building a country that works for everyone, they must act now to ensure every worker gets fair pay, decent rights and a voice at work.
Sign the petition calling on the government to ban zero hours contracts. Risks 919. 19 October 2019

Britain: Labour promises 32-hour working week
The average working week in the UK would be cut to 32 hours within 10 years under a Labour government, John McDonnell has announced. This would effectively reduce the average working week to four days - something the shadow chancellor said could be done “with no loss of pay.”
John McDonnell’s speech to the Labour Party conference. BBC News Online. The Independent. Risks 916. 28 September 2019

Britain: UK workers deserve a break, says TUC
The TUC is calling on the UK government to cut Britain’s overworked workforce a break, by creating four new public holidays. The union body says workers in England and Wales get just eight bank holidays a year, fewer than any other EU country and lagging far behind the EU average of 12 days.
TUC news release. Risks 916. 28 September 2019

Britain: Lorry drivers protest over threat to safe hours law
Lorry drivers have staged a protest at the Department of Transport over growing fears that the government will weaken or suspend the rules governing driving hours in the event of a no deal Brexit. The 17 September protest heard their union Unite warn the government against suspending the strict working hours limits in work time driving regulations.
Unite news release. Risks 915. 21 September 2019

Britain: Workers being pushed to exhaustion and beyond - Unite
A survey of over 13,500 workers in the bus driving, construction and lorry driving sectors has revealed a ‘shocking’ level of tiredness and exhaustion which is dramatically affecting their physical and mental health, causing relationship breakdowns and compromising safety at work and in communities. Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “Employers who are risking the safety of their employees and the general public should be prosecuted, named and shamed.”
Unite news release. Risks 914. 14 September 2019

Korea: Global backing for truck driver safe rates drive
Transport union activists from around the world have stood side by side with Korean truck drivers demanding the government keeps its promise to make the roads safer. The Road Safety Freight Rates Committee in South Korea is currently considering the minimum wage truck drivers should receive, known as the ‘safe rate’.
ITF news release. Risks 913. 7 September 2019

Britain: Action call after ‘shock’ report on bus driver exhaustion
Transport for London (TfL) is being urged to take definitive action to tackle fatigue among London bus drivers. The demand from bus drivers’ union Unite follows the publication of new research from Loughborough University found 21 per cent of bus drivers had to ‘fight sleepiness’ at least two or three times a week
Unite news release. UniteLive. Loughborough University: Bus Driver Fatigue – Final Report, August 2019. Risks 913. 7 September 2019

Britain: Bus driver fatigue shock shows need for ‘bill of rights’
GMB has stepped up its call for a bus drivers’ ‘Bill of Rights’ to help combat fatigue in the industry right across the UK. GMB regional organiser Steve Garelick said: “Safe operation of buses require drivers rested and with a safe system of work and well-maintained vehicles, all items clearly spelled out in the London Bus Drivers’ ‘Bill of Rights’.”
GMB news release. Risks 913. 7 September 2019

Britain: Relaxing driving time limits could end in deaths warns Unite
A no deal Brexit could result in lorry driving time limits being relaxed, leading to exhausted drivers posing a danger to other road users, Unite has warned. The transport union is calling on the government to rule out explicitly any relaxation or suspension of EU regulations which govern driving time for lorry driver.
Unite news release. Unite Live. Risks 912. 31 August 2019

Britain: Almost 900k UK workers now on zero hour contracts
Latest figures show almost 900,000 workers are on zero hour contracts in the UK, amid growing concern about the rise of insecure jobs among the youngest and oldest workers. Trade unions said the figures confirmed the government has “failed to crack down on unfair employment practices” as the official figures showed a 15 per cent spike in workers on zero hour contracts in the past year.
EMP17: People in employment on zero hours contracts, ONS, 13 August 2019. Yahoo Finance. Risks 911. 24 August 2019

Britain: Appeal court case confirms annual leave rights for all workers
UNISON has welcomed a Court of Appeal judgment that confirms the annual leave rights of hundreds of thousands of employees working part-time and irregular hours or patterns. The public sector union said Harpur Trust v Brazel & UNISON clarifies the legal position, ensuring all workers are entitled to a minimum of 28 days paid annual leave, even if they do not get given work or paid for parts of the year.
UNISON news release. Court of Appeal judgment. More on working hours and health. Risks 909. 10 August 2019

Britain: Two million workers robbed of legal holiday entitlement
A new TUC analysis has revealed that 1 in 14 UK workers are not getting their legal holiday entitlement. The TUC warned that people who work excessive hours are at risk of developing heart disease and stroke, stress, mental illness and diabetes, with this also impacting on co-workers, friends, and relatives.
TUC news release. Risks 907. 27 July 2019

Britain: Cancelled shifts compo won't end zero-hours injustice
Government plans to compensate zero-hours workers who lose out on work will do nothing to reform a jobs market that allows bosses to treat workers like disposable labour, the TUC has said. The union body was commenting after the government announced plans to force bosses to compensate workers for cancelled shifts and penalise employers who don't give enough notice of shifts.
TUC news release. BEIS/Low Pay Commission news release.
Join the TUC call for an end to scandal of zero hours contracts. Sign the petition now – it only takes 30 seconds. More on the hazards of insecure work. Risks 907. 27 July 2019

Britain: Union anger at Openreach hours ‘robbery
The CWU’s high profile campaign against an Openreach management practice that is forcing the company’s field service engineers to give hours of their time for free every week has stepped up a gear. The union says there is “mounting anger” at discrepancies in contracts that see some employees compensated for their travelling time, but others required to work for up to 10 hours a week for nothing.
CWU news release and related ‘Devil’s in the detail of Our Hours robbery’ story. Risks 907. 27 July 2019

Ireland: Bookie pays out after losing breaks case
Bookmaker Paddy Power has been told to pay compensation to staff employed in its Irish betting shops after denying them rest breaks, their union has said. Mandate said workers at the company – now owned by Flutter Entertainment – were expected to deal with customers while eating their sandwiches during breaks.
Mandate news release. Irish Independent. Risks 906. 20 July 2019

Britain: Union push to stop bus driver fatigue
Transport for London (TfL) must take action to tackle the potentially deadly fatigue afflicting the capital’s bus drivers, the union Unite has said. Unite regional officer John Murphy said: “Levels of bus drivers’ fatigue are at chronic level, which is affecting the safety of drivers and the general public.”
Unite news release. Risks 904. 6 July 2019

France: Long hours linked to higher stroke risk
Working long hours is linked to an increased risk of stroke, a study has found. Researchers investigated the impact of excessive working on cardiovascular health and found those who worked 10 hours or more for 50 days a year were 29 per cent more likely to have a stroke, compared to people who work shorter hours and people who worked long hours for 10 years or more increased their risk of suffering a stroke by 45 per cent, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) study concluded.
Marc Fadel and others. Association between reported long working hours and history of stroke in the CONSTANCES cohort, Stroke, volume 50, number 7, pages 1,879-1,882, July 2019. BBC News Online. Unite Live. Risks 903. 29 June 2019

Britain: Teachers in England have world-beating workloads
A government commitment to tackle the crippling workloads afflicting teachers in England is not being met, new international research has indicated. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD’s) Teaching and Learning International Survey – Talis - found secondary school teachers in England have one of the highest workloads in the world.
NEU news release. OECD news release. TALIS 2018 Results (volume I), Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners, OECD, June 2019. Personnel Today. Ekklesia. Risks 903. 29 June 2019

Britain: RMT campaigns to cut dangerously long bus hours
A campaign by the transport union RMT to cut dangerously long driver hours on Britain’s buses has received support from MPs. The Transport Committee’s report backed the RMT's call for bus driver hours to be limited, adding “we are concerned that recruitment and retention in the bus industry is hampered by long hours and poor pay”.
RMT news release. Support Matt Western’s Bill. Risks 902. 22 June 2019

Britain: Insurer warns overtime burden is creating driving ‘zombies’
A survey of British workers has exposed how the UK’s overtime culture is putting drivers at risk at the wheel, owing to poor sleep, pressure to respond quickly and stress and distraction. The research by business insurer NFU Mutual found that more than a third of people who work full- or part-time in the UK are expected to work outside of their contracted hours (35 per cent).
NFU Mutual Business Bulletin Motor Safety Edition, background information and case study - NFU Mutual Zombie Nation. Risks 898. 25 May 2019

Britain: Take control of your time at work
Unions won the five-day week, limits on working time and paid holidays – and unions can make sure changes in the modern workplace lead to further working hour gains, the TUC has said: General secretary Frances O’Grady said:  “As new technology makes us richer, the benefits should be shared by working people, in the form of shorter hours, more time with family and friends and decent pay for everyone.”
TUC blog. Risks 896. 11 May 2019

USA: Longer work hours lead to more and more serious injuries
The longer your working week, the more likely you are to be injured or killed on the job, a new study has found. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago looked at reported work-related injury figures in the US mining industry between 1983 and 2015, together with production, employment levels and working hours data and concluded: “In this study, we observed a steady annual increase in the proportion of injuries occurring during long working hours that mirrors a trend reported internationally as more mining operations move towards longer shifts.”
Lee S Friedman, Kirsten S Almberg and Robert A Cohen. Injuries associated with long working hours among employees in the US mining industry: risk factors and adverse outcomes, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, published Online First, 12 April 2019. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2018-105558
Kirsten S Almberg and others. Progressive Massive Fibrosis Resurgence Identified in U.S. Coal Miners Filing for Black Lung Benefits, 1970-2016, Annals of the American Thoracic Society, volume 15, number 12, 2 December 2018. Related news release. Risks 894. 27 April 2019

Britain: Brits work longest hours in the EU, TUC reveals
Workers in the UK are putting the longest hours in the EU, according to a new TUC analysis of official figures. The union body found full-time employees in Britain worked an average of 42 hours a week in 2018, nearly two hours more than the EU average – equivalent to an extra two and a half weeks a year, adding Britain’s “long-hours culture” is not delivering extra productivity.
TUC news release. Risks 894. 27 April 2019

Japan: Space agency suicide caused by overwork
A man working on a project for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) took his own life in 2016 because he was overworked, Japanese authorities have ruled. Yukinobu Sato, aged 31 at the time, was working as a contractor on a satellite project for Jaxa and was under extreme stress, a compensation review by the Ibaraki Labour Bureau’s Tsuchiura Labour Standards Inspection Office concluded.
Asahi Shimbun. Japan Times. The Mirror. BBC News Online. Risks 893. 13 April 2019

Britain: Every year on shifts ups heart disease risk 1 per cent
Working shifts increases a person’s chances of developing heart disease, with every year spent in this working pattern causing a 1 per cent rise in the risk, according to a new study. The research published in the journal Occupational Medicine is the largest ever study focusing on the risk of ischaemic heart disease in shift workers.
M Cheng and others. Shiftwork and ischaemic heart disease, Occupational Medicine, 29 March 2019. Risks 891. 30 March 2019

Britain: Working nights linked to greater risk of miscarriage
Working two or more night shifts in a week may increase a pregnant woman's risk of miscarriage the following week by around a third, a new study has found. The authors of the prospective study published online in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine conclude: “The new knowledge has relevance for working pregnant women as well as their employers, physicians and midwifes,” adding “the results could have implications for national occupational health regulations.”
Luise Moelenberg Begtrup and others. Night work and miscarriage: a Danish nationwide register-based cohort study, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Online First 25 March 2019. DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2018-105592  Science Daily. Risks 891. 30 March 2019

Britain: Stress-inducing unpaid overtime topped £32bn last year
UK companies claimed £32.7 billion of free labour last year because of workers doing unpaid overtime, according to new analysis of official statistics by the TUC. More than 5 million people put in an average of 7.5 hours a week in unpaid overtime during 2018.
TUC news release, blog and Unpaid Overtime Calculator. Risks 888. 9 March 2019

Britain: Long working hours linked to depression risk
Working very long hours – 55 plus a week - is linked to a heightened risk of depression in women, a study has found. The observational study published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health also found working weekends is associated with an increased risk in both sexes.
Gillian Weston and others. Long work hours, weekend working and depressive symptoms in men and women: findings from a UK population-based study, Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, published Online First, 25 February 2019. Risks 887. 2 March 2019

Britain: Openreach workers won’t work for nothing
The ‘patently unfair’ treatment of Openreach engineers who are being forced to work for up to two hours a day for free has prompted the launch of a major new CWU campaign. The ‘Our hours’ initiative has set out to ensure the company “is left in no doubt as to the scale of employee anger.”
CWU news release. Risks 887. 2 March 2019

Britain: TUC blasts low pay and unhealthy zero hours work
The TUC has said everyone deserves some certainty about the hours they will work each week, so it is unacceptable that hundreds of thousands of workers remain trapped on zero hours contracts. Commenting on the publication this week of labour market figures showing that real wages are still 1.9 per cent lower than a decade ago and 844,000 workers are stuck on zero hours contracts, the union body said the fall of 50,000 on zero hours since last year “is just a drop in the ocean.”
TUC news release and blog. Risks 886. 23 February 2019

Britain: Ban ‘health risk’ zero hours contracts, says TUC
Zero hours workers are more than twice as likely to work ‘health risk’ night shifts as other workers, according to new analysis published by the TUC. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) regularly work through the night, compared to 1 in 10 of the rest of the workforce.
TUC news release and zero hours analysis. TUC health and safety blog. BBC News Online. Risks 885. 16 February 2019

Australia: Court backs union on airport split shifts
Airport workers in Australia are celebrating a legal victory after the federal court ruled they can't be forced to work split shifts. Justice Darryl Rangiah said airport services company Aerocare, now called Swissport Australia, can't require employees to work split shifts.
Sydney Morning Herald. The Age. Risks 883. 2 February 2019

Britain: Union webinar on banning zero hours contracts
The TUC says zero hour contracts are a licence to treat people like disposable labour. As part of the TUC’s HeartUnions week, TUC Education is hosting a webinar with Better Than Zero to find out how they have been organising against precarious work in the hospitality and service sectors in Scotland.
Register for the TUC Education Zero hours webinar, 2:00pm, 13 February 2019. Risks 882. 26 January 2018

Australia: It should be Uber in the dock after taxi deaths
The Australian Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) is calling for Uber and not just drivers to face criminal prosecution over the deaths of passengers. The call came as an Uber driver was convicted in Sydney over the death of a passenger.
TWU news release. ABC News. Risks 878. 8 December 2018

Britain: Deaths firm Stagecoach had ignored 24 bad driver complaints
Stagecoach firm Midland Red (South) Ltd has been fined £2.3 million after ignoring 24 letters of complaint about a bus driver who went on to kill two people in a crash. Kailash Chander, now 80, lost control of the Midland Red bus after working 72-hour weeks.
CPS news release. The Mirror. Coventry Observer. Daily Mail. Labourlist. Risks 878. 8 December 2018

Britain: Spy-in-the-cab is a dozy idea on trains, says union
Plans to introduce monitors in train cabs in a bid to keep drivers awake is a dozy idea while train companies refuse to deal with work-related fatigue, ASLEF has said. The train drivers’ union was commenting after it emerged Britain's rail safety body is considering installing monitoring devices in trains that constantly scan driver's faces and vibrate their chairs if they start to doze off.
LBC News. Seeing Machines. Risks 878. 8 December 2018

Japan: Serious overwork common in school teachers
Teachers and officials at elementary, junior high and high schools across Japan are working more than 11 hours per day on average, raising concern about serious health repercussions or even deaths. In a government survey, which drew responses from some 35,000 school teachers and officials, 80.7 per cent said they have stress or concerns related to work, of whom 43.4 per cent cited long working hours as the cause of their distress.
Japan Today. Risks 874. 10 November 2018

Britain: Study identifies a workplace ‘exhaustion epidemic’
Britain’s workers are falling victim to a workplace ‘exhaustion epidemic’, a study has concluded. The research from Westfield Health found almost half of British workers regularly turn up to their job feeling too tired to work, 3 in 10 have had an accident or made a serious mistake due to fatigue, and 13 per cent have even drifted to sleep whilst driving.
Westfield Health blog. IoD news report. Risks 874. 10 November 2018

Britain: Shiftwork increase makes it time for action
The number of people working night shifts has increased by more than 150,000 over the past five years, a TUC analysis of official figures has revealed. The union body says the number working nights now stands at more than 3 million workers – or one in nine of the total UK workforce.
TUC news release and analysis. TUC blog. HSE webpage on shiftwork and breast cancer risk. The burden of occupational cancer in Great Britain – Breast cancer, RR852, HSE, December 2012. Risks 873. 3 November 2018

Britain: Union warning on the workplace fatigue culture
Pilots’ union BALPA has told MPs that more needs to be done to create a workplace culture that understands, prioritises and manages fatigue, particularly in safety-critical industries like aviation. BALPA head of flight safety, Dr Rob Hunter, told a ‘sleep and health’ seminar at the Houses of Parliament: “In aviation, and in-fact any safety-critical industry, we must understand fatigue and create a culture that prioritises and mitigates it.”
BALPA news release. Sleep and Health meeting. Risks 871. 20 October 2018

Britain: Long hours on film and TV sets are bad for you
The mental health of workers in film and TV is being damaging by the sector’s long hours culture, the union BECTU has said. The union is calling for all parts of the industry to come together to form a commission dedicated to reducing the industry's reliance on a long hours working culture.
BECTU news release. Risks 870. 13 October 2018.

Global: Study finds breast cancer risk in women working nights
Women who work at night, especially during pre-menopause, may be at greater risk of developing breast cancer, a new study has found. The findings, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, revealed the rates of certain breast cancers increased with the number of hours worked per night, as well as the number of years spent on the night shift - however, the risk seemed to diminish two years after going off the night shift.
University of Montreal news release. Emilie Cordina-Duverger and others. Night shift work and breast cancer: a pooled analysis of population-based case–control studies with complete work history, European Journal of Epidemiology, volume 33, issue 4, pages 369–379, 2018. doi: 10.1007/s10654-018-0368-x Risks 869. 8 October 2018

Britain: Government pressed to reduce teacher workload
Teaching union NEU is urging the government to reduce teachers’ workload after new research revealed that unnecessary tasks are the main reason for teachers quitting. The union’s report says that 78 per cent of secondary school teachers and 69 per cent of primary teachers think that the amount of marking they do is unmanageable.
NEU news release. Risks 869. 8 October 2018

Britain: Union aims to change unhealthy shift patterns
Unite has raised a “collective grievance” with one of the operators in the North Sea over the impact of three week off, three week on (3/3) rotas and seeking reviews with many more, including all those working for BP. This follows a report from the Robert Gordon University (RGU) in April, which said workers on three-week, equal-time rotas were nearly twice as likely to experience ill health as those on two on, two off rotas.
EnergyVoice. Risks 867. 22 September 2018

Britain: Emails while commuting should count as work hours
Commuters are so regularly using travel time for work emails that their journeys should be counted as part of the working day, researchers have said. Wider access to wi-fi on trains and the spread of mobile phones has extended the working day, the study from the University of the West of England found.
UWE news release. BBC News Online. The Independent. The Sun. Risks 865. 8 September 2018

Britain: Overworked drivers told to work extra hours ‘or else’
Overworked UK Mail drivers who are victims of ‘bogus self-employment’ have been told they must accept additional Saturday working, lower pay rates and fewer breaks or give up their jobs. GMB said its organising drive at the Gildersome depot has seen more drivers opting to join the union because of “the outrageous demands that are being put on them.”
GMB news release and GMB drivers website. Risks 865. 8 September 2018

Britain: Long hours in TV and film production damage families
The long hours culture in film and TV production is not just bad for workers, but for their entire families, their union BECTU has warned. The latest phase of the union’s ‘Eyes Half Shut’ campaign against excessive working hours is emphasising how hard families are being hit by long hours.
BECTU news release and Eyes Half Shut campaign. Risks 865. 8 September 2018

Australia: Truck drivers demand action on deadly risks
Truck drivers are demanding urgent action after a major study exposed the massive toll claimed by Australia’s deadliest job. Truck drivers are 13 times more likely to die at work than any other profession, while the long hours, social isolation, time pressure and lack of job control also make it one of the unhealthiest jobs, according to the Monash University study.
TWU safe rates news release. Full Monash University report and report highlights. ITF safe rates campaign factsheet. Risks 864. 1 September 2018

Britain: Nautilus welcomes windfarm vessel fatigue campaign
Seafarers’ union Nautilus is backing a new industry initiative to combat crew fatigue in the offshore energy support vessel (OESV) sector. Following a year of research, the National Workboat Association (NWA) has launched its campaign to tackle the problem “in direct response to widespread concerns about the occurrence of fatigue among workboat crew members.”
Nautilus news release. NWA news release. Risks 864. 1 September 2018

Britain: Fatigued ambulance staff treated ‘like machines’
Sickness levels among overworked paramedics demonstrate how close the system in Wales is to breaking point, a union has warned. The GMB said staff were fatigued due to increasing workload, a lack of br eaks and working over their hours.
BBC News Online. Risks 864. 1 September 2018

Britain: Time to ban zero hours contracts outright
Hundreds of thousands of workers are still trapped in jobs that are so insecure they can't plan childcare or budget for their weekly shop, latest official figures have confirmed. Government statistics released this month reveal the number of people working on zero hours contracts now stands at 780,000 - this is a drop of over 100,000 since February, but the bad news is that two-thirds of those on zero hours contracts (66 per cent) have been stuck on them for more than a year.
TUC blog. Sign the TUC ban zero hours contracts petition.
More on the hazards of insecure work. Risks 863. 25 August 2018

Britain: GMB warning on dangerous hospital shifts proposal
Royal Berkshire Hospital is being urged to withdraw proposals for ‘dangerous’ new shift patterns for overworked accident and emergency (A&E) staff. “If these staff are forced to do pointlessly long shifts at all hours of the day and night, they may be too tired to cope with the constant stress and demands of their front line role in A&E,” said GMB Southern Region.
GMB news release. Risks 862. 18 August 2018

Japan: Monday mornings off suggestion to address overwork crisis
Japan’s government is to urge companies to give employees some Monday mornings off work in its latest attempt to improve the country’s overwork crisis. The economy, trade and industry ministry’s ‘Shining Mondays’ plan will help address the punishingly long hours many Japanese are expected to work, although similar voluntary schemes aimed at reducing people’s workload have been largely unsuccessful.
The Guardian. The Telegraph. New Zealand Herald. More on work-related suicide. Risks 861. 11 August 2018

Britain: Long hours on sets leads to dangerous ‘drowsy driving’
Film and theatre craft union BECTU is asking workers in film and TV to make their views known about the dangers of driving to and from work on long hours productions. The union is highlighting the issue of ‘drowsy driving’ as part of its Eyes Half Shut campaign.
BECTU news release and Eyes Half Shut campaign. Risks 861. 11 August 2018

Global: Truck drivers are overworked, underpaid and at risk
Economic pressure is pushing commercial drivers to work extremely long hours, contributing significantly to truck crashes, a top researcher has warned. Michael Belzer, an associate professor of economics and transportation expert at Wayne State University in the US maintains long working hours and intense economic pressure are important to everyday motorists, “because the truck driver’s workplace is everyone’s roadway. Trucking casualties claim not only the lives of truck drivers, but a significant number of other roadway users – pedestrians, bicyclists, and automobile drivers and passengers.”
The Conversation. More on low pay is an occupational hazard. Risks 860. 4 August 2018

Korea: Workers told to ‘go home’ as stress takes its toll
While Japan famously brought the world the concept of karoshi, or death from overwork, South Koreans work longer hours, according to labour data. The South Korean police say work pressure plays a role in more than 500 suicides in the country each year, out of a national total of about 14,000.
New York Times. Risks 860. 4 August 2018

Britain: Millions missing out on legal holiday entitlement, warns TUC
A new TUC analysis has revealed that 1 in 12 UK workers are not getting their legal holiday entitlement. The analysis estimates that 2.2 million employees are not getting the minimum paid leave entitlement to which they are entitled under a workplace safety law.
TUC news release and blog. Personnel Today. Risks 860. 4 August 2018

Britain: Job agencies advertise ‘lethal’ 15-hour day site jobs
Unite is calling on the Scottish government to launch an immediate investigation in the wake of revelations that employment agencies have been advertising for workers to operate for a potentially ‘lethal’ 15 hours a day or 80 hours a week on the highly troubled Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR). Unite regional co-ordinating officer Steve Dillon said: “The latest revelations about the Aberdeen bypass project are disgusting, such long hours are lethal.”
Unite news release. Construction News. Risks 858. 21 July 2018

Britain: Long work hours linked to diabetes in women
Clocking up 45 or more working hours in a week is linked to a heightened risk of diabetes in women, a study has found. Research published online in the journal BMJ Diabetes Research & Care found there was no such heightened risk among women working 30 to 40 hours a week, prompting the researchers to suggest that sticking to this total might help curb the risk of the disease.
BMJ news release. Mahée Gilbert-Ouimet and others. Adverse effect of long work hours on incident diabetes in 7065 Ontario workers followed for 12 years, BMJ Diabetes Research & Care, 2018;6:e000496.doi 10.1136/bmjdrc-2017-000496. Published online 2 July 2018. Risks 857. 14 July 2018

Britain: Bar worker wins legal fight on cancelled shifts
A bar worker on a zero hours contract has won a legal dispute over last-minute shift-cancellations that campaigners say could lead to significant changes in employers’ practices in the hospitality industry. After contacting Better than Zero, the campaign against precarious work that is supported by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), Alasdair Thomson decided to pursue his case legally against SLONLO2 Ltd, the company that held the lease at Phoenix Alehouse.
Thompsons Scotland news release. Better Than Zero website and facebook page. BBC News Online. Risks 856. 7 July 2018

Britain: ‘Severe’ workload is a huge concern for Scottish teachers
High workloads are putting ‘severe pressures’ on teachers in Scotland, the union EIS has warned. EIS survey findings, published ahead of its annual meeting, revealed increasing workloads and long working hours are having an impact on the well-being of teachers.
EIS news release and survey findings. Risks 853. 16 June 2018

Concern at Sainsbury's plan to axe paid breaks
Britain: Sainsbury's is to plough ahead with contract changes for all workers that will mean up to 9,000 of its staff will lose out. On 1 September, the grocer's minimum wage will increase from £8 to £9.20 an hour - but accompanying the pay hike is a plan to scrap paid breaks and axe Sunday 'premium' pay.
Union news release. Usdaw news release. The Guardian. Daily Mirror. Retail Gazette. Morning Star. Risks 852. 9 June 2018.

Britain: Union acts on long hours in film and TV
TV and film production union BECTU has launched the latest phase of its campaign against the long damaging hours culture in film and TV production. The #EyesHalfShut campaign highlights the dangers to health that film and TV workers face every day in an industry BECTU says is beset with unnecessary long hours working.
BECTU news release. Risks 852. 9 June 2018.

Britain: Museum workers need a break
Workers at Royal Museums Greenwich have walked out for the third time in protest at cuts in paid breaks. The changes affect staff working at both the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory Greenwich, where the Prospect members calculated that by reducing breaks by 40 minutes a day, they will be working three extra weeks a year.
Prospect news release. Risks 851. 2 June 2018

Britain: FBU wins legal battle outlawing 96-hour shifts
The firefighters’ union FBU has won a High Court case confirming a duty system requiring firefighters to work 96-hour shifts is unlawful. Honourable Justice Kerr was handed down at Manchester High Court and stated: “I am troubled that the stance of the Authority and the Service offers an affront to the rule of law.”
FBU news release, the final judgment and more about unsafe duty systems. Morning Star. Risks 851. 2 June 2018

New Zealand: Union urges breaks for air traffic controllers
Many air traffic controllers in New Zealand have no guarantee they will get any toilet breaks while carrying out safety-critical roles controlling planes, their union has told a select committee. The New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association (NZALPA), told the education and workforce select committee that the change it was seeking to the proposed Employment Relations Amendment Bill (ERA Bill) were “safety-critical”, to allow controllers to take a break during each shift.
NZALPA news release. Otago Daily Times. Risks 850. 26 May 2018

Britain: Qantas using ‘anti-union’ tactics to silence safety concerns
The union Unite has warned Qantas airlines against employing ‘anti-union’ tactics to try and suppress legitimate health and safety concerns. The union was speaking out after the introduction of the airline’s new 17-hour ultra-long haul flight between London Heathrow and Perth in Australia, which means an average duty period of 19 hours for the ten cabin crew on board each 787 Dreamliner aircraft serving the route.
Unite news release. Morning Star. Travel Weekly. Risks 850. 26 May 2018

Britain: Nurses 'going whole shifts without a glass of water'
The majority of nurses regularly go through entire shifts without drinking water or taking breaks, a survey has found. Threequarters of nurses do not have time to take a break during one or two shifts every week, according to the poll of 2,000 nurses by journal Nursing Standard.
Nursing Standard. Morning Star. Risks 849. 19 May 2018

Britain: TUC hails Scottish campaign against zero hours
The leader of the UK's trade union movement has praised “brilliant” campaigns against zero hours contracts by young Scottish workers. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the Better Than Zero campaign had revitalised unions in Scotland.
The Herald. Better than Zero facebook page. Risks 848. 12 May 2018

Britain: Fresh Dial-a-Ride action over ‘impossible’ rosters
Workers at Dial-a-Ride have started a new series of walkouts after talks to resolve a dispute over the withdrawal of rest days and the imposition of new rosters failed to make progress. The dispute, which led to strike action in March, involves 120 workers who provide special needs transport for elderly people, the vulnerable and those with disabilities, on behalf of Transport for London (TfL).
Unite news release. Risks 847. 5 May 2018

The government must ban zero hour contracts, says TUC
The TUC has called on the government to ban zero hours contracts after latest official figures showed the number of workers affected rose by 100,000 in 2017. The statistics published by the Office for National Statistics show that UK firms used 1.8 million zero hour contacts in the year to November 2017, up from 1.7m in 2016, and that 901,000 people had a zero hours contract as their main employment in the final quarter of 2017.
ONS statistics release April 2018. TUC news release. GMB news release. The Guardian. Personnel Today. Risks 846. 28 April 2018

Britain: Workload is getting teachers down
A ‘staggering’ 81 per cent of teachers have considered leaving teaching in the last year because of escalating workloads, teaching union NEU has said. NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “The continual long hours spent on unnecessary work such as data collection for arbitrary government targets is not only demoralising but is unsustainable mentally and physically.”
NEU news release. Risks 844. 14 April 2018

Britain: School support staff struggling with increasing workloads
Teaching assistants, school administrators and other support staff are being made ill by increasing workloads as schools cut staffing to cope with budget cuts, according the union NEU. Dr Mary Bousted, NEU joint general secretary, said: “If the government fails to find any more money for schools, children will start suffering as more staff go off sick with stress.”
NEU news release. Risks 844. 14 April 2018

Britain: Reduce working hours to tackle teacher retention
Teachers work longer hours - and have seen a sharper drop in pay - than police officers and nurses, researchers have found. The study, by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), shows that teachers worked 50 hours a week during term time in 2015/16, compared with 44 for police officers and 39 for nurses.
NFER news release. NEU news release. The Independent. Risks 843. 7 April 2018

Britain: Minister accepts workload cut needed to tackle teacher shortage
The education secretary has promised to cut teachers’ workload in an attempt to resolve a recruitment crisis in England's schools. In a 10 March speech, Damian Hinds said he will address as a “top priority” concerns about a shortage of teachers.
DfE news release. NASUWT news release. BBC News Online. Risks 841. 17 March 2018

Britain: Workers put in £31bn in unpaid overtime last year
UK workers gave their employers £31.2 billion in free labour last year by doing unpaid overtime, according to new analysis of official statistics published by the TUC. The figures were released on 23 February, the TUC’s 14th annual Work Your Proper Hours Day.
TUC Work your proper hours day webpage and unpaid overtime calculator. UNISON news release. Risks 839. 3 March 2018

Britain: Firefighters win payouts after shiftwork shift
Members of the firefighters’ union FBU can apply for compensation after a fire authority imposed a new shift or ‘duty’ system on its employees, which requires periods on duty of 96 hours at a stretch. An Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruling means the FBU can pursue compensation claims for ‘injury to feelings’ for members who were forcibly displaced from their fire stations when the new working pattern was introduced.
FBU news release. Risks 837. 17 February 2018

Britain: Employers urged to let staff 'rest' during working day
Workers should be given places to rest at work to help boost productivity, according to new official guidance. Downtime at work can help employees switch off and get better quality sleep at night, says Public Health England (PHE), adding better sleep maintains cognitive function in employees, as well as cutting health risks.
BBC News Online. Sleep and recovery: A toolkit for employers, Business in the Community in association with PHE, January 2018. Public Health England blog. HSE workplace fatigue webpage.
Fatigue - a guide for health and safety representatives, TUC, July 2016. Tired out: don’t take fatigue risks lying down, a Hazards guide, 2016. Risks 835. 3 February 2018

Australia: Minister recommends electric shocks for truck drivers
The roads minister in the Australian state of New South Wales, Melinda Pavey, has been slammed after suggesting truck drivers could be zapped with electric shocks to reduce the carnage on the roads. The Transport Workers Union slammed her “offensive” suggestion as “heartless, arrogant and completely incompetent”.
The New Daily. Daily Liberal. The Morning Bulletin. Big Rigs. Risks 834. 27 January 2018

Britain: Fatigue is bad for doctors and patients
Lack of sleep resulting from long hours and excessive workloads is jeopardising patient safety and doctors’ health, the doctors’ organisation BMA has warned. A report produced by the association has highlighted how long and demanding hours coupled with frequent changes in rotas and insufficient recovery periods mean thousands of doctors are at heightened risk for sleep deprivation and fatigue, adding that inadequately rested doctors were at greater risk of making errors in patient care as well as occupational hazards such as needlestick injuries and road-traffic accidents.
BMA news release and full report. Risks 833. 20 January 2018

Britain: Uber ‘jeopardises safety’ by failing to limit drivers’ hours
Taxi firm Uber could be putting passengers and the public at risk by letting its employees work more than 80 hours a week, Labour’s Rachel Reeves has said. The Commons business select committee, which Reeves chairs, asked the company to supply information about how long drivers spend on duty.
BEIS news release and Letter from BEIS chair Rachel Reeves to Uber. Morning Star. Risks 829. 9 December 2017

Britain: Scottish DPD drivers protest at enforced hours
DPD delivery drivers in Scotland have protested over pay cuts and enforced working hours. The 150 owner-driver franchisees (ODFs), members of GMB Scotland, staged the 5 December demonstrations at the firm’s depots in Glasgow, Uddingston, Edinburgh and Dundee.
GMB news release. Morning Star. Risks 829. 9 December 2017

Britain: Exhausted Amazon workers 'fall asleep standing up'
Amazon warehouse workers are so exhausted by long hours and relentless targets they are falling asleep on their feet, according to a new investigation. Sunday Mirror reporter Alan Selby spent five weeks working at the online shop's warehouse in Essex and was told to pack 120 items an hour, although that target is set to rise to 200 items.
Sunday Mirror. The Independent. Risks 828. 2 December 2017

Japan: Union survey finds doctors routinely overworked
About 8 per cent of full-time medical practitioners in Japan took no days off in the preceding month, while 7 per cent of night-shift doctors put in more than 80 hours of overtime, a union survey has found. One of the labour ministry’s ‘thresholds’ used to define overwork-related deaths, or karoshi, is working more than 80 hours of overtime a month.
Asahi Shimbun. Japan Press. Risks 827. 25 November 2017

Britain: Driving for Hermes is ‘downright dangerous’
The government must stop ‘downright dangerous’ practices used by firms including delivery giant Hermes, the union GMB has said. The union, which represents drivers working for Hermes Lifestyle Couriers, has warned of a public safety risk after a leaked letter shows the company is forcing couriers to work excessive hours and up to 21 consecutive days in the run up the Christmas.
GMB news release. Risks 827. 25 November 2017

Britain: Workload leaves most teachers considering quitting
Over eighty per cent of teachers said that excessive workload has made them consider leaving teaching in the past year, according to a National Education Union (NEU) survey. NEU joint general secretary Mary Bousted said the survey showed “teacher members feel that excessive workload is blighting their lives and driving them from the profession.”
NEU news release and workload campaign. Risks 827. 25 November 2017

Britain: Firefighters to challenge dangerously long working patterns
The High Court has said a judicial review can take place into a shift pattern that sees firefighters spend 96 hours straight on duty. Firefighters’ union FBU, which had sought the review now scheduled for early in 2018, wholeheartedly welcome the court’s decision.
FBU news release. Risks 827. 25 November 2017

Japan: Stadium worker suicide caused by overwork
The Japan labour standard office has determined the suicide of a 23-year-old man who worked at Tokyo's new Olympic stadium construction site stemmed from overwork, and his family is eligible for government compensation. Hiroshi Kawahito, a lawyer representing the victim's family, said the victim, in charge of quality control of materials at the stadium site, recorded 190 hours of overtime in one month before killing himself in March.
Japan Times. CBC News. Bloomberg. The Guardian. Risks 822. 21 October 2017

Britain: High workloads ‘disastrous’ for teacher well-being
Scottish teaching union EIS has said low pay and high workloads are having a dire effect on the health and well-being of teachers. EIS president Nicola Fisher said teachers’ pay had fallen by 16 per in real terms, adding: “Workload is the iceberg of the education system. People think they understand the scale of the problem because they can see the tip of it, but unless you are experiencing it day in and day out, you cannot hope to grasp the full horror which lurks beneath the surface.”
EIS news release. Risks 822. 21 October 2017

Britain: Long hours in film are causing ill-health
The long hours culture in film production is damaging family life and causing ill-health, according to a report from BECTU. The media and entertainment union questions the sustainability of a creative process that fails to nurture creativity, instead running the industry as a production line.
BECTU news release. Risks 822. 21 October 2017

Japan: TV journalist’s death was caused by overwork
Overwork caused the death of a 31-year-old female reporter with Japanese state broadcaster NHK in 2013, according to the labour standards inspectors, the public broadcaster has now admitted. Miw a Sado, who was based at the broadcaster’s centre in Tokyo, died of congestive heart failure in July 2013 after working 159 hours of overtime with only two days off in the one-month period prior to her death.
Japan Times. Tokyo Reporter. The Guardian and follow-up article. BBC News Online. Risks 821. 14 October 2017

Global: Ryanair boss wrong to dismiss pilot fatigue risk
Pilots’ union BALPA has accused the outspoken head of Ryanair of giving a ‘worrying’ message dismissive of pilot fatigue risks. The union was responding after Michael O’Leary, the chief executive of the discount airline, said that pilot fatigue as a result of flying in short-haul operations does not exist, and that pilots fly a maximum of 18 hours a week, both claims rebutted by BALPA.
BALPA news release. Risks 819. 30 September 2017

Britain: Firms ‘addicted’ to zero hours contracts, says Unite
Too many companies like Sports Direct are ‘addicted’ to the use of zero hours contracts and insecure working practices, Unite has warned. The union comments came as official figures showed there were 1.4 million contracts that did not guarantee a minimum number of hours.
Unite news release. The Guardian. Morning Star. Risks 818. 23 September 2017

Britain: Doctors need a break
A report by the Royal College of Surgeons of Scotland has said that fatigue is putting patients’ lives at risk.  The college surveyed more than 500 consultants and trainees across the UK and found fatigue and high stress levels are impacting on morale and patient safety.
Report. Risks 811. 5 August 2017

Britain: Junior doctors at risk of accidents after night shifts
More than half of trainee hospital doctors have had an accident or near miss on their way home after a night shift, according to a new study of fatigue among NHS staff. The research, published in the medical journal Anaesthesia, found 1,229 (57 per cent) of 2,155 trainee anaesthetists questioned had been involved in an accident, or come close to having one, while driving, motorcycling, cycling or walking home after working all night.
Association of Anaesthetists news release. The Telegraph. The Guardian.
Laura McClelland and others. A national survey of the effects of fatigue on trainees in anaesthesia in the UK, Anaesthesia, online ahead of print, 5 July 2017. Risks 808. 15 July 2017

Britain: Ambulance service crisis ‘is putting lives at risk’
The Scottish Ambulance Service is so over-stretched it is ‘begging’ its stressed-out workforce to give up their holidays to put in extra shifts. Unite says the ‘dangerously overstretched’ ambulance service needed workers to provide overtime cover, with management pleading with some workers to step in instead of going on holiday.
Unite news release. Risks 806. 1 July 2017

Britain: Wales to tackle care worker zero-hours contracts
A planned curb on zero-hours contracts for thousands of care workers unveiled by the Welsh government has been given welcomed by the union UNISON. But the union says the chronic UK wide underfunding of the service also needs to be addressed.
Welsh government consultation. UNISON Cymru news release. BBC News Online. Risks 804. 17 June 2017

Britain: Concern at working time abuses at Parseq
Young people employed at a Sunderland call centre are being required to work longer shifts with fewer breaks than are required by law, a union has charged. GMB, the union for workers at the Parseq call centre on Doxford Park, is calling on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the conciliation service Acas to conduct an audit into the company’s application of the Working Time Regulations.
GMB news release. Risks 803. 10 June 2017

Britain: ‘Exhausted’ teachers ready to quit
“Staggeringly high” numbers of teachers are ready to quit the profession, a leading education researcher has warned, as growing pressures placed on staff and schools make the job “just too big an ask”. Rebecca Allen, director of the Education Datalab think tank has become the latest expert to highlight what has been referred to as a “crisis” in teacher recruitment and retention.
The Independent. TES. Education Datalab. Risks 802. 3 June 2017

‘Right to request’ could mean close to zero action on zero-hours
A proposed crackdown on zero-hours contracts in a review carried out for prime minister Theresa May is virtually worthless, the TUC has warned. Commenting on reports that the Taylor Review is set to recommend a right for zero-hours workers to “request” guaranteed hours, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “A ‘right to request’ guaranteed hours from an exploitative boss is no right at all for many workers.”
TUC news release. The Independent. BBC News Online. Independent Review of Employment Practices in the Modern Economy. More on health and safety and insecure work. Risks 802. 3 June 2017

Britain: Review will order zero-hours contracts overhaul
The government-commissioned inquiry into controversial working practices is set to call for employees on zero-hours contracts to be given the right to request a move onto fixed hours. The idea was proposed in a Confederation of British Industry (CBI) submission to the review.
BBC News Online. Independent Review of Employment Practices in the Modern Economy. More on health and safety and insecure work. Risks 801. 27 May 2017

Britain: Right to request fixed hours ‘useless’, says Unite
Just giving workers the right to request fixed hours will be ‘useless’, Unite has warned. The union said it would do nothing to combat the use of exploitative zero hours and short hours’ contracts. Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “With a shocking 3.8 million people experiencing in-work poverty it’s high time that work in this country paid and the misery of insecure work was eradicated.”
Unite news release. The Guardian. Risks 801. 27 May 2017

Japan: Firms named and shamed on unsafe work
Japan has taken the unprecedented step of naming more than 300 firms that the authorities say are violating workplace safety and other labour laws. A labour ministry list posted online includes 334 companies that have received warnings for safety offences, excessive overtime and other violations between last October and March this year.
Japan Times. Japan Today. Sky News. Risks 800. 20 May 2017

Britain: Crackdown needed on zero-hours contracts
The TUC has called for a crackdown on zero-hours contracts after official statistics showed a sharp rise in the number of workers affected. The new Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures revealed almost a million workers have no guaranteed hours in their main job.
TUC news release. ONS statistics, May 2017. The Independent. Risks 800. 20 May 2017

Britain: Two-thirds of chefs ‘harmed’ by long hours
The punishing long hours culture in many professional kitchens is putting the mental and physical health of chefs in London at risk, a snapshot survey by Unite has revealed. Almost half (44 per cent) of chefs responding to the union’s survey said they worked between 48 and 60 hours each week, with it now standard practice for employers to include an automatic ‘opt-out’ from the 48-hour a week ceiling under the Working Time Regulations in workers’ contracts.
Unite news release. Risks 798. 6 May 2017

Britain: 'Horrifying' number of carers on zero hours
A third of care workers in England are stuck in precarious, zero hours contracts, their union GMB has said. The union’s analysis of industry data shows that an estimated 117,679 out of England’s 369,340 care workers are trapped in insecure work – almost 32 per cent. It said the figures compare to a national average of workers on zero hours contracts across all occupations of just 2.8 per cent.
GMB news release and related release. More on work-related suicides and the safety risks of insecure work. Risks 796. 22 April 2017

Japan: Moves to limit overwork culture
A top level government panel has set out a plan to reduce long working hours and ensure equal treatment for regular and nonregular employees in Japan, as part of broader labour reforms. The panel, headed by prime minister Shinzo Abe, is calling for a cap on overtime hours and penalties on violators in an action plan based on an agreement between Japan’s most powerful business lobby Keidanren and the union federation Rengo.
Japan Today. Nikkei Asian Revew. Risks 795. 8 April 2017

Britain: Cuts forcing social workers to ‘brink of burnout’
Social workers are struggling with heavy caseloads, longer working hours and going without lunch breaks, according to a survey by UNISON and Community Care magazine. Nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents said the volume of cases they were responsible for left them feeling ‘over the limit,’ and more than half (56 per cent) blamed staff shortages for their heavy workload.
UNISON news release and A Day in The Life of Social Work report. Risks 794. 1 April 2017

Japan: Agreement on new overtime ceiling
The biggest employers’ group in Japan, Keidanren, and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) have agreed new monthly and annual overtime limits. The new agreement says overtime should be limited to 45 hours a month or 360 hours a year, with an absolute cap of 100 hours in any one month in special circumstances.
Japan Times. More on working hours and health. Risks 792. 18 March 2017

Britain: Working time, breaks and holidays – new TUC booklet
The law relating to working time is complicated. Some bad employers take advantage of this to deny staff their rights. The TUC says the publication is just a short guide, not a full statement of the law and advises workers, where they believe their rights are being ignored, to get advice their trade union about how to remedy the situation.
TUC publication alert. Working time, breaks and holidays - Know Your Rights booklet and know your rights webpages. Risks 792. 18 March 2017

Britain: Zero hours contracts treat workers like ‘disposable labour’
New official figures showing a sharp rise in the number of workers on zero hours contracts demonstrate the need for an urgent reform of employment law, the TUC has said. Commenting on new figures from the Office for National Statistics, which show that the number of people on zero hours contracts has increased by 13 per cent over the past year, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Zero hours contracts allow bosses to treat workers like disposable labour.”
TUC news release. Are you an insecure worker? Complete the TUC survey. ONS figures, March 2017. Risks 792. 18 March 2017

Britain: European flight rules could lead to ‘pilot burnout crisis’
Airlines are not doing enough to address fatiguing rosters and this will lead to many UK pilots suffering ‘burnout’, according to flight safety experts at the pilots’ union BALPA. One year on from the introduction of EU-wide pilot duty hours regulations, the union’s head of flight safety, Dr Rob Hunter, warned that fatigue remains a huge issue for the industry, and not enough is being done to tackle it, especially ‘burnout’. 
BALPA news release. Risks 790. 4 March 2017

Britain: Union backing for working time action call
Unions have backed the TUC call for an end to exploitative working hours. Speaking on the 24 February publication of the TUC’s latest analysis of unpaid overtime in the UK, leaders of the lecturers’ union UCU, teachers’ union NUT and journalists’ union NUJ said workers were facing unacceptable long hours and heavy workloads.
NUJ news release. UCU news release. NUT news release. Risks 790. 4 March 2017

Britain: Workers put in over £33 billion in unpaid overtime a year
The UK’s over-stretched workers gave their employers £33.6 billion of free labour last year by doing unpaid overtime, according to a new analysis of official statistics from the TUC. The TUC’s calculations were published on 24 February, to mark its 13th annual Work Your Proper Hours Day.
TUC news release and Work your proper hours day resources.
How many hours did you work for free? Check it out with the TUC’s unpaid overtime calculator. Risks 790. 4 March 2017

Australia: Pressures make trucking the ‘deadliest workplace’
A report has revealed the major reasons why truck driving is Australia’s deadliest job. Long hours, pressure to drive unsafe schedules with unsafe loads and an inability to raise safety concerns without jeopardising their jobs are among the risks to safety facing drivers, the Macquarie University study found.
Macquarie University news release. Sydney Morning Herald. TWU news report. Risks 787. 11 February 2017

Japan: Union chief blasts mooted 100-hour overtime limit
Management and union negotiators in Japan are locking horns over how much overtime employees should be allowed to work during busy periods, as the government mulls a ceiling of 100 hours per month. After attending a meeting of the government’s Council for the Realization of Work Style Reform, union leader Rikio Kozu dismissed the 100-hour limit floated as “totally impossible.”
Japan Times. Nikkei Asian Review. Risks 787. 11 February 2017

Global: For health’s sake, don’t work over 39 hours per week
People who work more than 39 hours a week are putting their health at risk, new research has found. Australian National University Professor Lyndall Strazdins, who co-authored the study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, said there was a “need to dispel the widespread belief that people need to work long hours to do a good job.”
ANU news release. The New Daily.
Huong Dinha, Lyndall Strazdins, Jennifer Welsh. Hour-glass ceilings: Work-hour thresholds, gendered health inequities, Social Science & Medicine, volume 176, pages 42–51, March 2017. Risks 787. 11 February 2017

Japan: Government tells workers to take a break
The Japanese government is urging people to leave work early and go shopping in an attempt to reduce deaths from overwork and to boost the ailing economy. The voluntary policy - known as Premium Friday - calls on employers to let their workers out at 3pm on the last Friday of every month to start the weekend early.
Sydney Morning Herald video report. London Evening Standard. Fortune. Japan Times. Risks 785. 28 January 2017

Britain: Overworked junior doctors falling asleep at the wheel
At least four in 10 junior doctors have fallen asleep while driving home from a long night shift, according to research for BBC’s Inside Out programme. Out of 1,100 newly qualified doctors surveyed, 41 per cent of them said they had nodded off at the wheel.
Inside Out South, 23 January 2017. Morning Star. Risks 785. 28 January 2017

Canada: Union presses for rail fatigue action
The union that represents conductors and train drivers at Canadian Pacific Railway is asking employees to come forward if they feel they’ve been forced to go to work tired. Teamsters Canada has created a platform for CP Rail employees to self-report if they have been “intimidated into reporting to work fatigued.”
Teamsters Canada. Calgary Herald. Risks 784. 21 January 2017

France: French workers have the right to switch off
French companies are now required to guarantee their employees a “right to disconnect” from technology. The new law came into force at the start of the year, and obliges organisations with more than 50 workers to start negotiations to define the rights of employees to ignore their smartphones.
International Business Times. The Guardian. Risks 782. 7 January 2017

Japan: Ad agency boss resigns over overwork suicide
Tadashi Ishii, the president and chief executive of the advertising agency Dentsu, is to resign in the wake of an employee suicide. A president in the 1950s urged its employees to work single-mindedly to complete tasks and satisfy clients, “even if it kills you” - and the company continued to print the exhortation in training materials until after Matsuri Takahashi’s death, when it had it removed.
New York Times. BBC News Online. Asahi Shimbun. Risks 782. 7 January 2017

Britain: Airline pilot wins major legal victory on fatigue
An airline captain has accepted an apology from an airline after being sanctioned for refusing to fly due to fatigue, as well as assurances that the company remains committed to passenger safety. Captain Mike Simkins, a member of the pilots’ union BALPA, was suspended by Thomas Cook Airlines for six months and threatened with dismissal after refusing to fly his Boeing 767 with over 200 passengers while he was fatigued.
BALPA news release. Tribunal judgment. Risks 781. 17 December 2016.

Britain: Pilot fatigue ‘not taken seriously’ by airlines
Half of airline pilots report that fatigue is not taken seriously by airlines, according to the first large-scale survey of pilots’ perceptions of safety within the European aviation industry. The London School of Economics (LSE) study found 51 per cent of pilots surveyed reported that fatigue was not taken seriously by their airline, and 28 per cent of pilots felt that they had insufficient numbers of staff to carry out their work safely.
LSE news release. BALPA news release. Risks 781. 17 December 2016.

Britain: Sleep deprivation 'costs UK £40bn a year'
Sleep-deprived workers are costing the UK economy £40bn a year and face a higher risk of death, according to a new study. The calculation is based on tired employees being less productive or absent from work altogether, with research firm Rand Europe, which used data from 62,000 people, calculating the loss equated to 1.86 per cent of the country’s GDP.
Rand Europe news release and full report, Why sleep matters – The economic dosts of insufficient sleep. BBC News Online. Fatigue - a guide for health and safety representatives, TUC, July 2016 [pdf]. Risks 779. 3 December 2016

Britain: Overworked delivery drivers a 'road safety risk'
Exhausted delivery drivers could pose a road safety risk over the next few weeks as thousands of staff are urged to work up to 20 days in a row to cope with the rush of online orders around Black Friday on 25 November. Government safety inspectors have been asked to investigate the possible danger arising from delivery drivers working six days a week and who have been asked if they are also willing to work Sundays.”
The Guardian. Risks 778. 26 November 2016

Canada: Clash over action on rail worker fatigue
A major dispute is escalating between Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) and the union Teamsters Canada, over proposed new work patterns the union believes are unnecessarily inflexible and could increase fatigue risks. The issue is a high profile concern, with Canada’s Transportation Safety Board this month identifying employee fatigue as a contributing factor in 20 per cent of its rail incident investigations conducted since 1994 where human factors were identified as a primary cause.
Teamsters Canada news release. Calgary Herald. Risks 777. 19 November 2016

Japan: Ad agency raided in overwork deaths probe
Several offices of Japan's biggest advertising agency have been raided over suspicions its employees are being made to work dangerously excessive hours. The raids came after the suicide of a 24-year-old Dentsu employee the labour ministry ruled to have been ‘karoshi’, or death by overwork or ‘karojisatsu’, overwork-related suicide.
Dentsu statement. Japan Times. Adweek. BBC News Online. More on work-related suicide. Risks 776. 12 November 2016.

Britain: Pilots back improved easyJet offer on fatigue risks
Pilots employed by easyJet have voted to accept an improved offer from the company which addresses concerns about fatigue risks. Earlier this year, members of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) in easyJet voted for industrial action over pilot fatigue concerns within the airline.
BALPA news release. Fatigue - a guide for health and safety representatives, TUC, July 2016 [pdf]. Tired out! Don’t take fatigue risks lying down, Hazards, number 135, 2016. Risks 776. 12 November 2016.

Britain: Workers bedded down in unsafe workplace
Two linked firms have been fined after it was discovered workers slept overnight at their premises without the necessary fire safety protection. Avon Fire and Rescue Authorities (AF&RA) took the prosecution against Litt Holdings Limited along with its wholly-owned tenant, UKS Group Limited.
Avon Fire & Rescue Service news release. Bristol Post. Risks 775. 5 November 2016

Britain: Health warning as night shift working soars
The number of UK workers who regularly work through the night has risen dramatically, according to a new analysis by the TUC. The union body, which is calling for better protection for this group of workers, found that the number of people who work night shifts increased by 275,000 (9 per cent) between 2011 and 2016 to 3,135,000.
TUC news release. TUC Stronger Unions blog. Morning Star. Risks 775. 5 November 2016

Britain: Teachers are overworked and facing ‘burnout’
Teachers in England are suffering high rates of burnout as a result of overwork, an education thinktank has warned. Most worked an average of 48.2 hours per week, according to the new report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) - but it found one in five works 60 hours or more - 12 hours above the limit set by working time regulations, a law introduced to protect workers from the health impact of excessive hours.
EPI news release and report. ATL news release. NASUWT news release. NUT news release. BBC News Online.
Fatigue - a guide for health and safety representatives, TUC, July 2016 [pdf]. Tired out! Don’t take fatigue risks lying down, Hazards, number 135, September 2016. Risks 772. 15 October 2016

Britain: Fatigue concessions by easyJet after pilots vote for action
An overwhelming vote by easyJet pilots in favour of industrial action on fatigue risks has led to concessions from the company. The budget airline and pilots’ union BALPA said a set of proposals to mitigate pilot fatigue will be put to pilots in a consultative ballot.
BALPA news release. Fatigue - a guide for health and safety representatives, TUC, July 2016 [pdf]. Tired out! Don’t take fatigue risks lying down, Hazards, number 135, September 2016. Risks 770. 1 October 2016.

Britain: Fire brigade’s shift proposal ‘unsafe and unlawful’
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has again slammed fire chiefs in Cambridgeshire for attempting to introduce a ‘Victorian shift system’ that would see firefighters working 96-hour shifts. The system, known as day crew plus, would mean the hours a firefighter works in one week would double and their hourly salary would be one of the lowest in any fire service in the country.
FBU news release and video update. Risks 766. 3 September 2016.

Britain: Shiftworkers are at higher risk of infections
People are more susceptible to infection at certain times of the day as our body clock affects the ability of viruses to replicate and spread between cells, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), may help explain why shiftworkers, whose body clocks are routinely disrupted, are more prone to health problems, including infections and chronic diseases like diabetes.
Cambridge University news release. Rachel S Edgar and others. Cell autonomous regulation of herpes and influenza virus infection by the circadian clock, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, e-pub 15 August 2016. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1601895113. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 764. 20 August 2016

France: Report confirms night work harm
Working night shifts leads to sleep and metabolic disorders, and some serious diseases, according to a study by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES).
ETUI news report. Risks 759. 16 July 2016.

Britain: Manchester firefighters fight ‘family wrecking’ shifts
The chair of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority is facing calls to quit after firefighters’ union FBU passed unanimously a vote of no confidence in his leadership. The union says the position of councillor David Acton is untenable after the authority approved plans to put firefighters on ‘family unfriendly’ 12-hour shifts, a move the union said was “universally unpopular” and would “cause mayhem for those with caring responsibilities.”
FBU news release and letter to David Acton calling for his resignation. Risks 759. 16 July 2016.

Britain: Animal feed giant faces strike vote in contract row
Nearly 50 workers at Suffolk animal feed firm A B Agriculture Ltd (AB Agri) are voting on industrial action, in a dispute over the imposition of longer hours and worse terms and conditions. Unite says the ballot of its members at the Bury St Edmunds firm has been prompted by the unilateral imposition of a ‘draconian’ workplace agreement. Unite news release. Risks 759. 16 July 2016.

Britain: Unions can wake up employers to fatigue risks
Union safety reps can play a crucial role in preventing work-related fatigue, the TUC has said. The union body said as well as an increased risk of injury at work, fatigue caused by too demanding work hours and patterns can increase the risk of a range of potentially serious health conditions including digestive and mental health problems.
Fatigue - a guide for health and safety representatives, TUC, July 2016 [pdf]. Risks 759. 16 July 2016.

Britain: BBC faces action over ‘reckless’ shift plans
Staff at BBC World News are taking industrial action over ‘reckless and self-defeating’ rota changes that require them to work significantly more hours. NUJ members voted by 96.5 per cent, on a strong turnout, for the action, which kicked off on 7 July with a 24-hour walkout.
NUJ news release and petition to preserve the BBC News Channel and BBC World News. Risks 758. 9 June 2016

Britain: Fire chief slammed over ‘unlawful’ shifts plan
Cambridgeshire’s fire chief has been accused of peddling an ‘unlawful’ shift system that could see firefighters work 96-hour shifts. Day Crewing Plus, described by firefighters’ union FBU as a ‘Victorian era shift system’, would see firefighters spend four days and nights working on a station.
FBU news release. Risks 757. 2 July 2016

Global: Long working hours hurt women most
Women who put in long hours for the bulk of their careers are at greater risk of life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. Work weeks that averaged 60 hours or more over three decades may triple the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart trouble and arthritis for women, a 30-year study by researchers from Ohio State University has found.
Allard E Dembe and Xiaoxi Yao. Chronic disease risks from exposure to long-hour work schedules over a 32-year period, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, online ahead of print, June 2016.
OSU news release. TUC Touchstone blog. Science Daily.  New York Daily News. Risks 756. 25 June 2016

Britain: Scots secondary teachers vote to take industrial action
Secondary teachers in Scotland are set to take industrial action over their ‘excessive’ workload. Members of the teaching union EIS voted overwhelmingly for a work to rule.
EIS news release. BBC News Online. Risks 756. 25 June 2016

Britain: Thomas Cook cabin crew vote to strike
Thomas Cook Airlines cabin crew have backed strike action by three-to-one in a dispute over health and safety concerns and ‘dangerous’ changes to rest breaks. Unite said it would be entering further talks with the company at the conciliation service Acas in a bid to resolve the dispute.
Unite news release. Travel Retail Business. BBC News Online. Risks 753. 4 June 2016

Britain: Thomas Cook cabin crew vote to strike
Thomas Cook Airlines cabin crew have backed strike action by three-to-one in a dispute over health and safety concerns and ‘dangerous’ changes to rest breaks. Unite said it would be entering further talks with the company at the conciliation service Acas in a bid to resolve the dispute.
Unite news release. Travel Retail Business. BBC News Online. Risks 752. 4 June 2016

Britain: Brexit equals 1m more working too long
One million more employees are at high risk of being forced to work excessive hours if the UK votes to leave the EU, a TUC analysis of official figures has found. Working time protections have been targeted openly by Brexit campaigners who claim it is ‘red tape’ that should be scrapped.
TUC news release. Risks 751. 21 May 2016

Britain: Ambulance ballot on dangerous work hours
UNISON has informed the East of England Ambulance Service it is to ballot frontline ambulance staff over possible strike action concerning management’s failure to tackle the problem of excessive working hours and lack of sufficient breaks. The union is seeking a 45-minute meal break, a 20-minute additional break later in the shift, and for crews to be able to return to base at the end of their shift and only be asked to attend the highest category of calls while en route.
UNISON news release and video. Morning Star. NHE Magazine. Risks 751. 21 May 2016

Britain: Thomas Cook cabin crew stand up for a break
Over 1,000 Thomas Cook airlines cabin crew are being balloted for industrial action in a dispute over health and safety concerns and ‘dangerous’ changes to rest breaks. If the changes go ahead, Unite members would be allowed just a single 20 minute break during an 11 hour 59 minute duty period.
Unite news release. Risks 750. 14 May 2016

Britain: Warning on dangers of changing offshore shift patterns New offshore work patterns could make the already hazardous work more dangerous and must not be imposed on workers, a coalition of unions has warned. The Offshore Co-ordinating Group (OCG) was speaking out on the publication of its report, ‘Safety critical offshore workers in the UK oil and gas sector: Hours, shifts and schedules’, commissioned from the Scottish Centre for Employment Research (SCER) at Strathclyde University.
STUC news release. Safety Critical Offshore Workers in the UK Oil and Gas Sector: Hours, Shifts and Schedules, OCG, 2016. Risks 749. 7 May 2016

Britain: Teachers warn of action over excessive workload
Teachers are threatening strike action in their campaign against excessive workload.
The National Union of Teachers' annual conference called for “sustained strike action” to back schools challenging a long hours culture.
NUT news release. BBC News OnlineRisks 745. 9 April 2016

Britain: Workload is behind the teaching crisis
Workload is the key driver of the teacher shortage crisis, putting people off becoming teachers and compelling enthusiastic teachers to leave, according to a new survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL). The union’s survey last month of 876 education staff asked what they thought might stop people from wanting to become teachers; 93 per cent cited workload and 91 per cent said poor work/life balance.
ATL news release. Morning StarRisks 745. 9 April 2016

Britain: Public sector workers sleep-deprived, says study
Gruelling working hours across the public sector are leaving workers sleep deprived, with many only managing six hours sleep per night, a study has found. Research led by the University of Leeds and commissioned and funded by bed firm Silentnight found nearly a third of Britons suffered from sleepless nights as a result of long work hours and job-related pressure and stress.
Leeds University news release. TUC news release. Risks 738. 13 February 2016.

Britain: Tribunal awards overwork payout
A construction worker forced to work 70-hour weeks has won a constructive dismissal case. David Brown, who worked as a site manager for Ogilvie Construction, was awarded £14,000 at a tribunal against the firm.
Planning and Building Control Today. Risks 737. 6 February 2016

Britain: Peril for night shift workers on drive home
Workers driving home after a night shift are at an increased risk of a road traffic accident, a US study suggests. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Liberty Mutual Research Institute found that for post-night shift drives nearly 44 per cent were ended early for safety reasons compared to none of the post-sleep drives.
Michael L Lee and others. High risk of near-crash driving events following night-shift work, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, volume 113, number 1, pages 176–181, 5 January 2016. Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety news release. Pump Handle blog. Risks 735. 23 January 2016

Britain: Bus drivers strike over unsafe timetables
Over 200 Arriva bus drivers in Kent have taken two days of strike action over the introduction of unachievable, fatigue-inducing and unsafe timetables. Their union Unite has said drivers are being kept at the wheel for five and a half hours at a time with as little as four minutes ‘recovery’ time and limited access to toilet facilities.
Unite news release. Kent Messenger. Risks 732. 12 December 2015

Britain: Long hours, short breaks in private schools 
More than four out of every 10 teachers (41 per cent) in independent schools are only getting a 20 minute uninterrupted lunch break during their working day of six or more hours, according to a poll by teaching union ATL. Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, said: “It is driving experienced and valuable staff from the profession and is having a hugely detrimental impact on personal lives.”  
ATL news releaseMorning StarRisks 728. 14 November 2015

Britain: Travelling for work 'is work', European court rules
The TUC has welcomed a ruling by the European Court of Justice on working time and a worker’s travel between their home and a client. The ruling affects workers with no ‘fixed or habitual’ place of work, and requires a worker’s travel time between home and their first and last customer appointments in a working day to be considered in relation to the 48 hour maximum working week introduced under the Working Time Directive.
TUC news release. TUC Touchstone blog. UNISON news release. CWU news release. ETUC news release. IoD news release. CBI news release. BCC news release. BBC News Online. Personnel Today. European Court of Justice judgment. Risks 720. 19 September 2015

Britain: TUC warns of the re-emergence of ‘Burnout Britain’
The number of people working excessive hours has risen by 15 per cent since 2010, according to a new TUC analysis. Regularly working more than 48 hours per week is linked to a significantly increased risk of developing stress, mental illness, heart disease and strokes and diabetes.
TUC news release. Morning Star. Risks 719. 12 September 2015

Britain: Long hours warning must be heeded at sea
Research linking long working hours to higher rates of heart disease and strokes should spur a reduction in the notoriously long hours worked at sea, seafarers’ union Nautilus has said. Allan Graveson, Nautilus senior national secretary, said: “Unlike asbestos, ignored for decades, employers now need to take responsibility,” adding: “A 91/98 hour working week is unacceptable.”
Nautilus news release. Project Horizon. Risks 718. 5 September 2015

Global: Working longer hours increases stroke risk
Long working hours greatly increases your risk of suffering a stroke, a major study had found, with the risk increasing the more hours you work. The research, carried out in three continents and led by scientists at University College London, found that those who work more than 55 hours a week have a 33 per cent increased risk of stroke compared with those who work a 35- to 40-hour week; they also have a 13 per cent increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Mika Kivimäki and others. Long working hours and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: A systematic review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished data for 603,838 individuals, The Lancet, published online 20 August 2015. Science Daily. The Guardian. Risks 717. 29 August 2015

Britain: Burnout Britain doesn’t give workers a break
A new TUC analysis indicates that 1,669,000 employees are missing out on their minimum legal entitlement to paid holidays. The TUC review of unpublished figures from the 2014 Labour Force Survey (LFS) shows that on average 6.4 per cent of employees across the UK are losing out on their holiday entitlements, a legal health and safety entitlement laid out in the EU Working Time Directive.
TUC news release and Touchstone blog. Risks 714. 8 August 2015.

Britain: Rights call for the 3 million night workers
Action is needed to protect the health and welfare of Britain’s growing army of night workers, the TUC has said. ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, a new report from the union body, shows that night working has grown since the recession, and there are now over three million employees who are regular night workers in the UK.
TUC news release and full report, A Hard Day’s Night, August 2015. Risks 714. 8 August 2015.

Britain: Don’t stall action on shift work risks
As evidence mounts linking shift work to breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and a range of other health problems, the TUC is warning that preventive advice isn’t keeping pace with the evidence of harm.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. Are you on the receiving end of good or bad agreements on shift work? Tell the TUC safety department. Risks 713. 1 August 2015.

Britain: Sunday trading extension will be bad for workers
Proposals to allow larger stores in England and Wales to open for more hours on Sundays have been condemned by unions who say the move will be bad for retail workers. Unveiling the plans in the summer budget, Chancellor George Osborne said powers over trading hours will be devolved to major towns and cities.
Usdaw news release. TUC news release. Summer Budget 2015. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Risks 711. 18 July 2015

Japan: Government looks to eradicate overwork deaths
The government of Japan is seeking to use the law to eradicate deaths from overwork, or ‘karoshi’. A Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry panel has prepared an outline bill to promote measures to prevent these deaths.
Mainichi Japan. Japan Times. Risks 705. 6 June 2015

Britain: Unite to tackle ‘Victorian’ Sports Direct practices
Unite has launched a confidential advice and support line to help confront abusive ‘Victorian’ work practices at Sports Direct and a culture of fear at the retailer’s Shirebrook warehouse in Derbyshire. Working conditions are underpinned by a ‘six strikes and you’re out’ disciplinary procedure, where workers can get strikes for long toilet breaks, excessive chatting and even having time off for sickness. 
Unite news release. Channel 4 Dispatches: The Secrets of Sports Direct. Risks 701. 9 May 2015

Britain: One in five do work for nothing
UK workers gave their bosses nearly £32bn worth of unpaid overtime last year – an average of £6,050 each if these hours had been paid – according to new analysis published by the TUC. The TUC found that one in five (20.3 per cent) of the workforce regularly work extra hours for no pay.
TUC news release. NASUWT news release. Risks 693. 7 March 2015

Britain: School support staff are feeling the strain
Threequarters of school support staff work over their contracted hours because their workload demands it, according to a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL). Over 1,600 support staff working in UK state-funded schools responded to the survey and 21 per cent reported having to work between four and six extra hours a week.
ATL news release. Risks 689. 7 February 2015

Britain: Unite rolls out its drivers’ charter
Transport workers’ union Unite is demanding for a fair deal for HGV drivers amid warnings they are being forced to put themselves and the public at risk by working more than a “whopping” 60 hours a week. Low pay and rising demands from employers to do more increase the chances of serious accidents on the roads, the union warned as it launched its professional drivers’ charter.
Unite news release and Unite drivers’ charter. TWU Safe Rates campaign. Risks 688. 31 January 2015

Britain: Long working hours can drive you to drink
Individuals who exceed 48 hours per week at work are more likely to consume “risky” quantities of alcohol, researchers have concluded. Their overview of studies covering more than 400,000 people showed that long working hours boosted the likelihood of higher alcohol intake by 11 per cent overall.
Marianna Virtanen and others. Long working hours and alcohol use: systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished individual participant data, British Medical Journal, volume 350, g7772, published online 13 January 2015. doi:
BMJ 2015; 350 (Published 13 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:
Cassandra Okechukwu. Editorial: Long working hours are linked to risky alcohol consumption, British Medical Journal, volume 350, g7800, published online 13 January 2015. doi:
The Guardian. Risks 687. 24 January 2015

USA: Wal-Mart locks staff in at night
Sick and injured workers at Wal-Mart stores in the US have found themselves trapped in locked stores, unable to get medical attention, a New York Times report has revealed. For more than 15 years, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, has locked in overnight employees at some of its Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores.
New York Times. Risks 686. 17 January 2015

USA: More evidence on night shift link to diabetes
African-American women who work night shifts are significantly more likely to develop diabetes than those who have never worked night shifts, a study has found, with more years working the night shift resulting in a higher risk. The authors said their study “has important public health implications”, adding there should be “consideration of avoiding shift work in favour of other work arrangements when possible.”
Varsha Vimalananda and others. Night-shift work and incident diabetes among African-American women, Diabetologia, 14 January 2015. Risks 686. 17 January 2015

USA: Rotating night shift work is bad for your health
A new analysis of data from the world’s largest and longest-running study of women’s health finds that rotating night shift work is associated with higher death rates. The new findings add to a growing awareness that long-term night shift work comes with serious occupational health risks.
Fangyi Gu, Jiali Han, Francine Laden and others. Total and Cause-Specific Mortality of US Nurses Working Rotating Night Shifts, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, published online ahead of print, 5 January 2015. DOI:
Eurekalert. The Pump Handle. BBC News Online. Risks 685. 10 January 2015

Japan: Unions aim to head off overwork deaths
Workers in Japan have been offered union-run counselling in a bid to reduce the deadly impact of excessive workloads. The trade union confederation Rengo said the two days of telephone counselling was intended to reduce the chances of a worker falling victim to “karoshi,” or death from overwork.
Japan TimesMore on deaths from overworkILO karoshi case studyRisks 68413 December 2014

Britain: Fat chance of avoiding night shift weight gain
Working night shifts can increase the risk of developing obesity as sleeping during the day burns fewer calories than at night, according to new research. The study found that night shift patterns disrupt the metabolism of employees, causing them to use less energy than they normally would over the course of a day.
Andrew W McHilla, Edward L Melanson, Janine Higgins, Elizabeth Connicke, Thomas M Moehlmana, Ellen R Stotharda, and Kenneth P Wright, Jr. Impact of circadian misalignment on energy metabolism during simulated nightshift work, PNAS, Published online before print 17 November 2014, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1412021111
The GuardianBBC News OnlineRisks 68229 November 2014

France: Shift work is bad for your brain
Working an irregular shift pattern may be causing long-term damage to people’s memory and mental abilities, new research has shown. The study suggested a decade of shifts aged the brain by more than six years.
Jean-Claude Marquié and others. Chronic effects of shift work on cognition: findings from the VISAT longitudinal study, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, published First Online 3 November 2014. doi:10.1136/oemed-2013-101993 [abstract] • BBC News OnlineThe IndependentRisks 6798 November 2014

Canada: Rail firms fight new fatigue rules
Canada’s major freight rail companies are fighting moves by the federal transportation regulator to curb “extreme fatigue” among railway engineers, a CBC News investigation has found. CN Rail, CP and the Railway Association of Canada went on the attack two weeks ago at a “tense and heated” meeting of industry, union and government representatives, according to a number of people present.
CBC News and related storyRisks 67618 October 2014

Britain: Long hours at low pay linked to diabetes
Working long hours in ‘low status’ jobs can increase your risk for diabetes, a new study suggests. Researchers found that people who worked more than 55 hours a week at manual labour or other types of ‘low socioeconomic status jobs’ were 30 per cent more likely to develop diabetes than those who worked 35 to 40 hours a week.
Mika Kivimäki and others. Long working hours, socioeconomic status, and the risk of incident type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of published and unpublished data from 222,120 individuals, The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Early Online Publication, 25 September 2014 • Orfeu M Buxton and Cassandra A Okechukwu. Long working hours can be toxic, The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Early Online Publication, 25 September 2014 • CBS NewsThe Pump HandleRisks 6744 October 2014

Britain: Unite wins ambulance service rest time precedent
Unite has hailed an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) judgement concerning the working time arrangements of on-call technicians and paramedics in the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) as “a significant victory” for workers’ rights and patient safety. Relief ambulance paramedics Paul Truslove and Ellouise Wood pursued the SAS for compensation over a breach of their rest entitlements under the 1998 Working Time Regulations, having accumulated 97 and 48 consecutive working hours respectively.
Unite news releaseAberdeen Press and JournalHeraldRisks 6669 August 2014

Global: Shiftwork linked to type 2 diabetes
Shiftwork is associated with a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with the risk greatest among men and those working rotating shift patterns, a review of the evidence has found. The study found that working shifts carries a 9 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes, with most shift patterns, except mixed and evening shifts, associated with a heightened risk of the disease compared with those working normal office hours.
Yong Gan and others. Shift work and diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of observational studies, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Online First, 16 July 2014. doi:10.1136/oemed-2014-102150 [abstract] • OEM news releaseDiabetes UK commentThe GuardianRisks 6652 August 2014

Britain: Doctors working hours cut after commute death
Hospitals in Scotland are being told to reduce the working hours of junior doctors following the death of a young medic on her drive home from work. Scottish government health secretary Alex Neil said NHS managers must end all rotas that make doctors work seven night shifts in a row and more than seven days back-to-back.
Herald Scotland and follow-up storyRisks 66028 June 2014

Britain: Zero hours workers need greater protection, says TUC
Preventing employers from insisting their zero hours staff are allowed to work for them alone will be good news for some employees, but the government needs to go much further if the widespread abuse of these contracts is to be stamped out, the TUC has warned. The union body was commenting on government plans to stop the use of ‘exclusivity’ contracts – which prevent workers on zero hours contracts from working for more than one employer.
BIS news releaseTUC news releaseBBC News OnlineMorning StarRisks 66028 June 2014

Britain: Firms should push proper lunch breaks
Employers are being advised to encourage staff to take proper lunch breaks after a survey found many were skipping a proper break. Physios’ union CSP said poor work habits like not taking a break, staying late or eating lunch ‘al-desko’ are damaging the nation’s health.
CSP news releaseBBC News OnlineRisks 65814 June 2014

Britain: Teachers ‘adversely affected’ by social media
The abuse of social media and email is an increasing problem for teachers, leading to more abuse and out-of-hours work, a survey by teaching union NASUWT has found. Over a third (35 per cent) of teachers in Scotland report receiving work-related emails outside school hours, with 42 per cent saying they receive them weekly and 19 per cent daily.
NASUWT news releaseRisks 65524 May 2014

Britain: Jobless could be forced into zero hours jobs
A new government ‘Help to Work’ scheme has been strongly criticised by unions after it was revealed jobseekers could be forced into zero hours contract jobs. Under the scheme, jobseekers may lose their benefits for three months if they refuse a zero hours contract - insecure or ‘contingent’ work has been linked to higher rates of sickness absence and occupational injuries and diseases.
TUC news release. Prime minister’s office news releasePCS news releaseMore on the health impact of insecure workRisks 65310 May 2014

Britain: Zero hour contracts leave workers hard pressed
The majority of workers on zero hours contracts earn less than the living wage and are at risk of abuse, the TUC has said. The union body was commenting ahead of the publication of new official figures which indicated there are now well over 1 million zero hours contracts in the UK.
TUC news releasePCS news releaseUsdaw news releaseBBC News OnlineThe IndependentMore on health and safety and insecure workRisks 6523 May 2014

Britain: Teachers face a ‘home invasion’ of work
Teachers are being swamped with work-related emails on weekends, in holidays and even when they are on sick leave, adding to their already excessive workload and causing rising levels of stress, a survey by the union NASUWT has found. Over two thirds (69 per cent) of teachers reported receiving work-related emails from senior staff outside school hours, with nearly 85 per cent receiving emails during weekends, over threequarters (76 per cent) during holidays and nearly half (43 per cent) during periods of sickness absence.
NASUWT news releaseRisks 65126 April 2014

France: Unions win ban emails and calls at home
Under a legally binding agreement reached by employers’ federations and unions in France, workers in the technology and consultancy sectors no longer have to answer work emails or phone calls outside work hours. The deal obliges staff to “disconnect” from work calls and emails after working hours; companies must ensure employees come under no pressure to respond to messages, so the spirit as well as the letter of the law is observed.
TUC Touchstone blog. Prospect commentary. The GuardianRisks 65126 April 2014

Britain: Union urges action on fatigue at sea
The union Nautilus has welcomed a call from the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) for Europe-wide action to address seafarer fatigue. Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said: “We are painfully aware of the health and safety problems posed by fatigue and it is essential that the MAIB’s findings are acted on.”
Nautilus news releaseRisks 65012 April 2014

Britain: TUC calls for tougher action on zero hours contracts
The case for tougher controls on zero hours contracts has been confirmed by new research, the TUC has said. Commenting on ‘Zeroing in’, a report by the independent Resolution Foundation, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The report highlights how the government is failing to address many of the abuses experienced by workers on zero hours contracts.”
Resolution Foundation news release and report, Zeroing In, March 2014 • TUC news releaseThe IndependentRisks 6495 April 2014

Britain: Government sure to fail on zero hours
Proposals from ministers on zero hours contracts will fail to stem the widespread exploitation of workers, the TUC has said in its response to a government consultation. The TUC submission highlights how zero hours work is dogged by low pay, under-employment, and job and income insecurity.
TUC news release and consultation submission •  The Guardian
More on the health and safety risks of insecure employment
The TUC is organising Fair Pay Fortnight from Monday 24 March to Sunday 6 April. It will be a series of events across England and Wales to raise awareness about falling living standards • Risks 64615 March 2014

Britain: Unpaid hours now at record levels
Employees across the UK worked a record amount of unpaid overtime last year, with over 5.4 million workers putting in around £640m worth for free every week, according to the TUC. The TUC analysis shows that the number of people regularly doing unpaid hours at work increased by 331,000 last year to 5.42m – the biggest annual rise since comparable records began in 1998.
TUC news releaseRisks 6458 March 2014

Britain: Record teaching hours are ‘unsustainable’
The hours worked by teachers have soared under the current government, a Department for Education (DfE) study has found. The embarrassing for ministers findings of the Teachers' Workload Diary Survey 2013, smuggled out on a Friday evening without the usual news release, have led to calls from teaching unions for an urgent reduction in the demands on staff.
Teachers' Workload Diary Survey, DfE, 28 February 2014. NUT news release and summary of the DfE survey findingsNASUWT news releaseATL news releaseDaily MirrorRisks 6458 March 2014

Britain: Public sector women bear unpaid overtime burden
The number of staff doing unpaid overtime has gone up in the public sector over the last decade, but has held steady in the private sector, according to a new analysis of official figures by the TUC.
TUC news release and Work Your Proper Hours webpageRisks 6441 March 2014

Britain: TUC’s Work Your Proper Hours Day, 28 February 2014
If staff who regularly work unpaid overtime did all their extra hours from the start of the year they wouldn’t get paid until 28 February 2014. This will be this year’s Work Your Proper Hours Day, celebrating the unsung – and unrewarded – hours that staff put in to help their employers and boost the UK economy.
TUC news release and Work Your Proper Hours Day websiteRisks 64215 February 2014

Britain: Yorkshire ambulance staff need a break
The union Unite is demanding an independent inquiry by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) into a long-running Yorkshire ambulance dispute over a plan to impose new shift patterns for paramedics and ambulance staff as part of a package of cuts. Unite’s 375 members, who have been involved in a programme of industrial action related to the changes, say the imminent introduction of elongated shift patterns could mean staff are required to work 10 hours without a meal break.
Unite news releaseRisks 64215 February 2014

Britain: Time for HSE to shift on shiftwork dangers
New research showing that night shifts can cause long term damage to health demonstrates the pressing need for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to update its guidance, the TUC has said. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said the report reinforced concerns about shiftwork’s links to breast cancer, diabetes, heart attacks and obesity, establishing it as a “major occupational health issue.”
SN Archer and others. Mistimed sleep disrupts circadian regulation of the human transcriptome, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi/10.1073/pnas.1316335111, 2014.The ScientistThe GuardianBBC News OnlineTUC facebook safety page  • Risks 63925 January 2013

Britain: Government has too much time for zero hours
The government is “desperately short” of answers to the growth of zero hours contracts in Britain, the TUC has said. The union body was speaking out after the government’s announcement last month of a consultation on changes to zero hours contracts.
TUC news releaseBIS news release and Zero hours employment contracts: consultationUNISON news releaseGMB news releaseUCU news releaseIoD news releaseBCC news releaseBBC News OnlineRisks 63711 January 2014

Britain: New warning on doctors’ hours
Doctors in Scotland are suffering “stress and burnout” as growing NHS workloads take their toll, medical leaders have warned. Brian Keighley, chair of the British Medical Association in Scotland, said the NHS was struggling to deal with the pressures of an ageing population, Westminster-led funding cuts and rising expectations from patients which include a shift towards a seven-day-working week in hospitals.
The ScotsmanThe HeraldRisks 63711 January 2014

Britain: Pressure to review hours of junior doctors
Scottish health secretary Alex Neil has come under pressure to review junior doctors' working hours following the tragic case of Dr Lauren Connelly, who died driving home after a hospital night shift. Her father, Brian Connelly, believes she was fatigued after six weeks of extremely long hours and wants an overhaul of the system and has received support from opposition politicians.
Herald Scotland and earlier articleDaily RecordRisks 63514 December 2013

Britain: Pizza giant ‘broke safety rules 647 times’
A food factory prosecuted last month after a workplace amputation broke the Working Time Regulations several hundred times in a three month period, an investigation by the union GMB has found. The union probe followed multinational Bakkavor’s prosecution for criminal safety breaches discovered after a worker lost the tip of a finger in an unguarded machine at its Harrow pizza factory.
GMB news release • Risks 630 • 9 November 2013

Europe: Fury at ‘dodgy backroom deal’ on flying hours
Pilots’ union BALPA has expressed dismay at a ‘dodgy backroom deal’ that saw the European Parliament approve contentious new flying hours rules. BALPA says intensive lobbying from the airline industry and ‘dodgy last minute backroom deals’ mean  the rules can now be implemented, unless the EU Council of Ministers decides to discuss the rules and vote on them.
BALPA news releaseBBC News Online • Risks 626 12 October 2013

Europe: Pilots welcome flight hours change rejection
British pilots have welcomed the vote by the EU Transport and Tourism Select Committee rejecting new Europe-wide rules on pilot flying hours they say will undermine UK flight safety. The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) is now calling on the UK government and MEPs to act to protect the safety of our skies.
BALPA news releaseBBC News OnlineThe IndependentRisks 625 5 October 2013

Britain: MPs back union concerns on pilot fatigue
Union concerns that planned European Union changes to flying hours rules would see pilots landing planes while dangerously tired have been supported by a committee of MPs. A report from the House of Commons transport select committee published this week expresses concern about the lack of evidence behind proposed changes which could mean pilots were awake for a 22 hour stretch.
BALPA news release •  House of Commons Transport Select Committee report and webpages on flight time limitationsTUC news releaseRisks 62214 September 2013

Britain: Bank to review working conditions after death
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has launched a review of working conditions for junior staff after the death of an intern employed at its London office. Moritz Erhardt, 21, was found dead at his home after reportedly working at the Merrill Lynch investment bank for 72 hours without sleep.
BBC News OnlineThe GuardianABC NewsRisks 62031 August 2013

Britain: Action at Hovis over zero hours contracts
Hovis staff started the first of a planned series of strikes on 28 August over the introduction of agency workers on zero hours contracts. The action is at the Wigan bakery, one of 10 Hovis sites in the UK.
BFAWU news release and earlier releaseThe Work Foundation news releaseThe Guardian and related commentary Food ManufactureRisks 62031 August 2013

Britain: Pilot fatigue is a major public concern
A new poll has revealed the overwhelming majority of the travelling public have concerns about European Union plans to make British pilots fly when they are dangerously tired. The ComRes poll found 89 per cent of the British public said they would be concerned about being in an aircraft flown by a pilot who has been awake for 22 hours, something new EU rules cutting British safety standards will allow.
BALPA news release and video Risks 62031 August 2013

Britain: Bank of America intern dies after long hours stint
A 21-year-old who was interning at a London investment bank has died after reportedly working 72 hours in a row. Moritz Erhardt was an exchange student from Germany studying at the University of Michigan and was interning at the Bank of America in London when he died, seven days before he was due to complete his summer internship. The IndependentBBC News OnlineRisks 61924 August 2013

Britain: Fatal 10-year failure by General Motors
The owner of motor manufacturer Vauxhall has been fined £150,000 over the death of a long-serving worker, Ian Heard, 59, who was crushed in machinery at its car factory in Ellesmere Port. The company, part of General Motors UK Ltd, had failed to remedy the fault responsible, despite identifying the problem in a risk assessment a decade before. HSE news release and manufacturing webpagesBBC News OnlineRisks 61924 August 2013

Britain: Labour can cure the zero hours plague, says Unite
The union Unite is pressing for decisive policies to halt the ‘alarming rise’ in insecure working. Making the call at Labour's summit on zero hours working this week, the union said a zero hours ‘plague’ is gripping workers across the UK.
Unite news releaseChuka Umunna news releaseBBC News OnlineNew StatesmanRisks 61924 August 2013

Britain: Legal challenge against zero hours contracts
Zero hours contracts are facing a legal challenge, after a part-time worker with decided to take her case to an employment tribunal. Elizabeth George, the barrister in the employment team of law firm Leigh Day who is acting for Zahera Gabriel-Abraham, said: “There was no practical difference between the obligations put on my client by the company and those placed on full-time staff,” adding: “The ‘casual’ part-time employees in this case are employees in the conventional sense and denying them their paid holidays, sick pay and bonuses is unlawful.”
Leigh Day news release38 Degrees blogRisks 61817 August 2013

Britain: Government must act to halt zero hours culture
Urgent action is needed to stop the growth of the zero hours culture, unions have said. The call came after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) admitted it had dramatically underestimated the extent of zero hours work, and then research published by the human resources organisation CIPD suggested the problem could still be much more serious than the government accepts, with a possible one million zero hours workers in the UK – four times the revised government estimate.
TUC news releaseCIPD news releaseUnite news releaseUNISON news releaseUCU news releaseProspect news releaseBECTU news releaseTUC Touchstone blogThe Work Foundation news releaseThe GuardianRisks 61710 August 2013

Britain: Sports Direct faces flak over zero hours contracts
Pressure is mounting on Mike Ashley and his Sports Direct empire over its use of zero-hours contracts for part-time employees as Unite this week demanded a meeting with the billionaire businessman. Politicians, campaigners and charities called on the UK’s biggest sports retailer to change its policy after Unite revealed it was using the no-rights contracts for 90 per cent of its workforce.
Unite news releaseThe GuardianThe IndependentMore on insecure work and safetyRisks 6163 August 2013

Britain: Call for action on ‘excessive’ working hours at sea
Seafarers’ union Nautilus is urging maritime lawyers to address the ‘excessive working hours of seafarers’. The call came ahead of a 24 July EU-sponsored seminar to discuss the results of the ‘Project Horizon’ research into fatigue at sea.
Nautilus news release and Project Horizon webpagesRisks 61527 July 2013

Britain: Pilots accuse aviation agency of ‘maladministration’
The European agency responsible for aviation safety across the European Union (EU) has been accused of “gross maladministration” by British pilots. The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has submitted a formal complaint to the European Ombudsman saying the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has breached its own terms of reference in the way it has put together proposals to change pilots’ working hour limits, set to prevent dangerous fatigue.
BALPA news release and BALPA complaint to the European OmbudsmanRisks 61313 July 2013

Britain: Concern at ‘shocking’ rise in zero hours contracts
The government should look at regulating zero hours contracts, the TUC has said. The union was commenting after figures published by shadow health secretary Andy Burnham MP revealed over 300,000 workers in the care sector alone are employed on zero hours contracts.
TUC news releaseThe GuardianBBC News OnlineResolution Foundation news release and report, A Matter of Time: the rise of zero-hours contracts, Matthew Pennycook, Giselle Cory and Vidhya Alakeson, Resolution Foundation,  June 2013. More on the hazards of insecure workRisks 6126 July 2013

Canada: Night work linked to double breast cancer risk
Working night shifts for more than 30 years could dramatically increase women's risk of developing breast cancer, a new study has concluded. Nurses, cleaners, care workers, some shop workers, call centre workers and others who work night shifts for long periods can have double the risk of developing the disease than those who don't, the new study indicates.
Anne Grundy and others. Increased risk of breast cancer associated with long-term shift work in Canada, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Online first, 1 July 2013. doi:10.1136/oemed-2013-101482 [abstract] • Medical DailyHuffington PostRisks 6126 July 2013

Britain: TUC wants tougher rules on zero hours contracts
The TUC is calling on Vince Cable to impose tough new regulations on zero hours contracts, after he announced that his officials are conducting a review. Frances O'Grady, the general secretary of the TUC, said: “With the tough times set to continue, now is the perfect time for the government to be reviewing – and hopefully regulating – the increasing use of these exploitative contracts.”
TUC news releaseThe GuardianPersonnel Today • More on insecure work and health and safety Risks 61022 June 2013

Britain: Parliament’s security staff strike over shifts
Up to 300 security staff at the Houses of Parliament took strike action in a long-running row over imposed shift patterns. The workers, employed by the Metropolitan Police, accepted two years ago that shifts had to change, but their union PCS said during protracted talks senior Met officials “repeatedly moved the goalposts” when the union presented a series of proposals.
PCS news releaseRisks 60518 May 2013

Britain: Retailers shopped by exhausted staff
Understaffing and long opening hours are leaving shopworkers stressed, miserable and unable to take breaks, their union has said. The Morning Star reports that delegates at the annual Usdaw conference have called for action to address low staffing levels. Morning StarRisks 6034 May 2013

Britain: More firms using zero-hours contracts
Almost a quarter of Britain's major employers now recruit staff on zero-hours contracts that keep workers on standby and deny them regular hours. According to government estimates, 23 per cent of employers with more than 100 staff have adopted the flexible contract terms for at least some staff following a surge in the number of public sector services contracted out to private providers.
The Guardian article and related commentMore on the health impact of insecure workRisks 60013 April 2013

Brazil: McDonald’s gets $4m fine for zero hours contracts
In Brazil, fast food giant McDonald's was this year fined US$4 million for operating a zero-hours scheme under which workers sat in the "break rooms" without being paid, until the employer determined there were a sufficient number of customers for hours to be counted. The court ruling required McDonald’s to eliminate the working time scheme throughout Brazil and ordered it to provide healthy meals to its workers.
IUF news reportEqual TimesMore on the health impact of insecure workRisks 60013 April 2013

Britain: The false economy of unpaid overtime
TUC research published on 1 March has revealed that around one in five workers regularly do around seven hours of unpaid overtime a week. The union body questions whether it’s really necessary for workers to do 1.8 billion hours of unpaid overtime a year – the equivalent of 1 million extra full-time jobs.
Stronger Unions blogTUC Work Your Better Hours Day website and infographicTSSA news releaseRisks 5969 March 2013

Britain: Half the office workforce skips their lunch break
More than half of office employees regularly work through their lunch breaks, a poll for BBC Breakfast has found. Commenting on the poll, which found 54 per cent of office staff routinely take no lunch break, TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: “These figures shine a spotlight on Britain's long hours culture.”
BBC News OnlineTUC news releaseWork Your Proper Hours Day, 1 March 2013 • Risks 59316 February 2013

Britain: Work Your Proper Hours Day is on 1 March 2013
If staff who regularly work unpaid overtime did all their extra hours from the start of the year they wouldn't get paid until 1 March 2013. The TUC has named this day Work Your Proper Hours Day to celebrate their hard work.
TUC news release and Work Your Proper Hours Day websiteBHF news release. Morning StarRisks 5912 February 2013

Britain: ‘Final warning’ on ‘unsafe’ pilot fatigue rules
Airline unions have issued a final warning about ‘unsafe’ European Union pilot fatigue plans. Pilots from the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) delivered a ‘Tired Pilots Risk Lives’ dossier containing scientific reports, correspondence and testimonials to 10 Downing Street, the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spelling out the dangers.
BALPA news releaseITF news releaseECA website and Dead Tired campaignMorning StarRisks 59026 January 2013

Britain: Government warned on working time
The TUC has said the prime minister is ‘tilting at windmills’ by attacking working time rules. In a 23 January speech on the UK’s relationships with the European Union, David Cameron picked out working hours as an issue that should not be decided in Europe. TUC news releaseDavid Cameron’s speechInstitute of Education news release and full reportStronger Union blogTouchstone blogBBC News Online and related articleRisks 59026 January 2013

Britain: How did xmas work for you?
While many of us enjoyed a few days off over the holidays, the numbers required to work on Christmas Day soared, according to figures compiled by the TUC. The TUC analysis of official statistics shows that the number of people who worked on 25 December rose by 78 per cent between 2004 and 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available.
TUC news releaseRisks 58812 January 2013

Australia: New safety code will address work fatigue
Australia’s national safety watchdog is developing measures to tackle the health and safety hazards of fatigue at work. Work Safe Australia is proposing a new code intended to “eliminate or reduce the need to work extended hours or overtime” so staff don't get dangerously fatigued.
Daily TelegraphPreventing and managing fatigue in the workplace: Draft code of Practice, Safe Work Australia • Risks 57713 October 2012

Britain: High stress and long hours blight universities
University staff are suffering ‘damaging’ stress levels arising from intense workloads and a long hours culture, union research has found. A report of a UCU survey of 14,000 higher education academic and academic-related staff ranks marked the start of UCU's campaign against excessive workloads in post-16 education.
UCU news release and workload campaignRisks 57713 October 2012

Britain: Sunday trading suspension was a failure
Retail union Usdaw says latest high street trading figures confirm the union’s warning that the eight week suspension of Sunday trading rules for the duration of the London Olympics would be a costly mistake. The figures released this week by the Office for National Statistics show retail sales in August fell by 0.2 per cent.
Usdaw news releaseONS retail figures August 2012Risks 57529 September 2012

Britain: Shopworkers seek assurances on Sunday working
The shopworkers' Union Usdaw has written to business secretary Vince Cable to seek an urgent assurance that the government has no plans to permanently deregulate Sunday trading hours in England and Wales. The action came after the prime minister's official spokesperson, when asked if a permanent law change to extend temporary changes introduced during the Olympics was on the cards, said “a lot of people will want to look at the issue”.
Usdaw news releaseThe TelegraphBBC News OnlineRisks 56918 August 2012

Britain: UNISON calls for action on shifts and cancer
Safety reps should demand action to protect workers from shift patterns linked to cancer and other health problems, public sector union UNISON has said. The union was speaking out after a series of reports linked shiftwork with an increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and other health problems.
UNISON news release and negotiating on shift work bargaining support guide for workplaces representatives • Alliance for Cancer PreventionHazards magazineRisks 56811 August 2012

Global: Shiftwork linked to heart disease risk
Shiftworkers are at increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to a new study. The authors, whose findings are published online in the British Medical Journal, say their research is the largest analysis of shiftwork and vascular risk to date and “has implications for public policy and occupational medicine.”
Shift work and vascular events: systematic review and meta-analysis, BMJ 2012;345:e4800, published 26 July 2012 • Newsroom AmericaBBC News OnlineThe ObserverRisks 567 4 August 2012

Britain: Public behind flight safety campaign
The overwhelming majority of the British public believe the UK should stick with existing flight safety rules rather than adopt new EU rules that could leave pilots dangerously fatigued. Jim McAuslan, general secretary of the pilots’ union BALPA, said: “The government must realise that the British public take their safety aboard British aircraft seriously and are not content to allow our good quality fatigue regulations to be watered down by Brussels.”
BALPA news releaseRisks 5637 July 2012

Britain: Another study links night work to breast cancer
A new study has reinforced concerns that women undertaking night work can face an increased risk of breast cancer. Reporting their findings online in the International Journal of Cancer, the French study concludes the risk of developing breast cancer was 30 per cent higher in women who had worked nights compared to women who had never worked nights.
Florence Menegaux and others.  Night work and breast cancer: a population-based case-control study in France (the CECILE study), International Journal of Cancer, published online ahead of print 26 June 2012. DOI: 10.1002/ijc.27669 [abstract]. Inserm news releaseScience DailyRisks 56230 June 2012

Britain: Screen slavers put health at risk
UK office workers are putting their mental and physical health at risk by working more than two hours extra each night on their commute and at home, a new survey for the physios’ union CSP has found.
CSP news releaseBBC News OnlineRisks 56123 June 2012

Britain: Unite warning on EU aviation hours plans
Cabin crew union Unite has echoed concerns raised by pilots’ union BALPA and the House of Commons transport select committee that European aviation working hours proposals could jeopardise safety. The union, which represents about 25,000 cabin crew across the airline industry, reiterated their warning that the safety of passengers and crew could be at risk if the proposed rules are adopted.
Unite news releaseRisks 5599 June 2012

Global: Night shifts linked to increase in breast cancer
Working night shifts more than twice a week is associated with a 40 per cent increased risk of breast cancer, a study has found. The long term study, published online on 28 May 2012 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found those who had worked nights at least three times a week for at least six years were more than twice as likely to have the disease as those who had not.
Johnni H and Lassen, CF. Nested case-control study of night shift work and breast cancer risk among women in the Danish military, OEM, Online First, 28 May 2012, doi 10.1136/oemed-2011-100240.
TUC news release and occupational cancer guide [pdf] • Alliance for Cancer Prevention news releaseThe GuardianDaily MailThe TelegraphRisks 5582 June 2012

Britain: Dismay at Sunday trading laws move
The government’s use of emergency legislation to force through a suspension of Sunday trading rules during the Olympics has left shopworkers “bitterly disappointed”, their union has said. MPs voted through The Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Bill on 30 April, after just nine hours consideration and debate in both the House of Commons and House of Lords.
Usdaw news releaseHouse of Commons votes, 30 April 2012Risks 5545 May 2012

Britain: We’ll tell you why we don’t like Sundays at work
Shopworkers shouldn’t lose their Sundays at this summer’s Olympics. Delegates at Usdaw's Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM) reaffirmed the union's opposition to the deregulation of Sunday trading, calling on the government to drop plans to suspend Sunday trading restrictions during the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.
Usdaw news release and news release on the government employment rights changesMorning StarRisks 55328 April 2012

Global: Passenger jet’s dive exposes pilot fatigue dangers
An incident in which an Air Canada passenger jet dived and caused injuries to 16 of those onboard provides a dire warning of the dangers of pilot fatigue, UK pilots’ union BALPA has said. A report this week by Canada’s Transport Safety Board found a “confused and disoriented” Air Canada co-pilot had just awoken from a “controlled rest period” when he put the airliner into a dive.
BALPA news releaseTransport Safety Board incident reportGlobe and MailBBC News OnlineChannel 4 NewsRisks 55221 April 2012

USA: Shiftworkers face diabetes and obesity risk
Shiftworkers getting too little sleep at the wrong time of day may be increasing their risk of diabetes and obesity, according to a new study. The researchers are calling for more measures to reduce the impact of shiftworking.
OM Buxton and others. Adverse metabolic consequences in humans of prolonged sleep restriction combined with circadian disruption, Science Translational Medicine, volume 4, number 129, 11 April 2012 [abstract and related news release] • BBC News OnlineThe Huffington PostRisks 55114 April 2012

Britain: Sunday trading hours extension is ‘ridiculous’
Shopworkers are opposed to ‘ridiculous’ government plans to introduce emergency legislation suspending Sunday trading laws this summer, their union has said. In his 21 March Budget statement, chancellor George Osborne announced there would be a “relaxation” of Sunday trading hours restrictions on eight Sundays during the Olympics and Paralympics, starting 22 July.
Usdaw news release BBC News OnlineRisks 54824 March 2012

China: Call for law to stop overwork deaths
A law to prevent a growing number of deaths related to overwork has been proposed at China’s National's People's Congress (NPC). Hu Xiaoyan, China's first migrant worker elected as a representative of the NPC, made the call during the law-making body’s annual session.
China DailyGlobal Times’ April 2011 report on Pan Jie’s deathRisks 54717 March 2012

Australia: Worker fatigue 'epidemic' identified
Australian workers are suffering from an “unrecognised epidemic” of tiredness, a new study suggests, with working parents particularly badly affected. Report authors, psychologists Natalie Skinner and Jill Dorian, recommend a cap the working week, including overtime, at 38 hours, to help avoid harm caused by sleep deprivation.
The AgeRisks 54610 March 2012

Britain: Surge in older workers doing unpaid overtime
The proportion of employees in their late 50s and early 60s working unpaid overtime has increased sharply in the last decade - despite a fall in unpaid hours for the rest of the workforce. A new TUC analysis of official figures shows across the UK around one in five workers (5.3 million people) put in an average of 7.2 hours of unpaid overtime per week last year, worth around £5,300 a year per person - and a record £29.2 billion to the economy.
TUC news releaseThe GuardianWork Your Proper Hours DayRisks 5453 March 2012

Britain: Excessive working time causes depression
A new study has concluded that working long hours - regardless of job stress or satisfaction - increases the risk of depression. Researchers at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and University College London followed nearly 2,000 middle-aged British civil servants for almost six years.
TUC Touchstone blog. Marianna Virtanen and others. Overtime work as a predictor of major depressive episode: A 5-year follow-up of the Whitehall II Study, PLoS ONE, volume 7, number 1, published online 25 January 2012. CBS NewsRisks 541 • 4 February 2012

Britain: Unpaid overtime equivalent to 1m extra jobs
The two billion hours of unpaid overtime worked last year would be enough to create over a million extra full-time jobs, the TUC has calculated. It says the total amount of unpaid overtime worked last year was 1,968 million hours - worth a record £29.2 billion to the UK economy.
TUC news releaseCWU news releaseWork Your Proper Hours Day, 24 February 2012Risks 53814 January 2012

Britain: UK still high in the long hours league
UK workers remain among the most overworked in Europe, new official statistics indicate. An analysis published by the Office of National Statistics found full-time workers in the UK work longer than the EU average (42.7 hours compared with 41.6), with only people in Austria and Greece working a longer week, both at 43.7 hours a week.
ONS news releaseTUC news releaseTouchstone blog and Work Your Proper Hours Day campaignRisks 53617 December 2011

USA: Shiftwork linked to diabetes in women
Women who work a rotating schedule that includes three or more night shifts per month, in addition to day and evening working hours in that month, have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a study has found. Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) reached their conclusion after comparing women on rotating shifts with those who only worked days or evenings, and found the risks increased in line with years working the shifts.
An Pan, Eva S Schernhammer, Qi Sun, Frank B Hu. Rotating night shift work and risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Two prospective cohort studies in women, PLoS Medicine, published online 6 December 2011 • Risks 53510 December 2011

Britain: Tired pilots risk lives
Pilots union BALPA is seeking to alert people to the dangers posed by proposed changes to the limits on pilots flying time. To support their campaign BALPA have produced a short youtube video.
Balpa campaign pageYoutube videoRisks 53219 November 2011

Britain: Proposals would leave pilots drunk on fatigue
Proposed European Union flying hours limits would see pilots working with levels of fatigue-related incapacity equivalent to four times the legal alcohol limit for flying, pilots’ union BALPA has warned.
BALPA news releaseRisks 52929 October 2011

USA: Union backs working time restrictions
The Teamsters Union have joined a campaign to support the proposed Hours of Service (HOS) rule proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that will limit consecutive driving hours and prevent abuse of the current regulations. Unions and safety organisations claim that the proposed rule will save the American public more than $2 billion and create nearly 40,000 jobs in the trucking industry.
The truckerRisks 52715 October 2011

Britain: England abandons doctors’ hours checks
The NHS in England has abandoned its monitoring of doctors’ working hours in response to a government demand to reduce ‘red tape’. A report in BMJ Careers reveals the “ministerial return” hospital trusts previously submitted on compliance with the 48 hours a week working hours ceiling stipulated in the European Working Time Directive was cancelled in August 2010 “to reduce bureaucracy.”
BMJ CareersRisks 5213 September 2011

Britain: Coach firm fined over drivers’ hours
A Middlesex coach company has been fined £137,500 after being found guilty of abusing drivers’ hour’s regulations. BM Coach and Rental was found guilty at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court of 131 drivers’ hours offences after an investigation by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) in summer 2010.
VOSA news releaseBus and Coach.comRisks 51416 July 2011

Britain: Long work hours a heart attack risk
Clocking up extra hours at work can increase markedly the risk of heart disease, UK researchers have found. The research team from University College London warned people who work an 11-hour day compared with those who work a standard seven or eight hours increase their risk of heart disease by 67 per cent.
MRC news releaseBBC News OnlineMorning Star.
M Kivimäki and others. Using additional information on working hours to predict coronary heart disease: A cohort study, Annals of Internal Medicine, volume 154, number 7, pages 457-463, April 2011 [abstract] • Risks 5019 April 2011

Britain: More work unpaid overtime than ever before
A record 5.26 million people worked unpaid overtime last year - the highest number since records began in 1992, a TUC analysis of official figures has revealed. The analysis, published on 25 February to mark Work Your Proper Hour Day (WYPHD), shows over one in five workers (21 per cent) regularly worked unpaid overtime last year, an increase of 0.7 per cent since 2009 and the highest proportion since 1997.
TUC news release and Work Your Proper Hours Day webpage resources, posters and long hours advice clinic. The GuardianRisks 4965 March 2011

Britain: New warning on pilot fatigue
A recent air crash in which 50 people died was linked to pilot fatigue and exposes the folly of moves to extend pilots’ flying hours, their union BALPA has warned. The UK union said the Colgan disaster on 12 February 2009 when a plane crash-landed at Buffalo, USA, could be repeated in the UK if EU revised rules on pilot fatigue are allowed to proceed as planned.
BALPA news releaseRisks 49419 February 2011

Britain: Ministers urged to oppose pilot hours increase
Airline pilots from across Britain lobbied ministers and MPs in parliament last week in a bid to block what they believe is an unsafe plan to increase pilot flying hours across the European Union (EU).
BALPA news releaseRisks 49312 February 2011

Britain: Pilots will fight dangerous work hours move
Pilots’ union BALPA is warning an extension of allowable working hours would increase the risk of fatigue-related air disasters. The union has launched a ‘Wake up - Pilot fatigue risks lives’ campaign against European plans to increase the working hours of pilots, warning safety would be put at risk.
BALPA news releaseMorning StarRisks 4925 February 2011

Britain: At Amazon, ’tis the season to be nasty
Britain’s biggest online retailer sent home casual staff in the middle of the night, half way through their shift, an employment rights group has revealed. Some workers had to wait at the giant Amazon warehouse near Gourock, in Inverclyde, Scotland, until public transport resumed in the morning, even though they were not being paid.
The HeraldRisks 48718 December 2010

Canada: Shiftwork is bad for you
Canadians who work night shifts and rotating shifts are almost twice as likely to be injured on the job as those working regular day shifts, according to a study by researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The study, published in the current issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, found that while the overall rate of work injuries in Canada decreased, the rate of injuries did not decline for night shiftworkers.
Wong IS, McLeod CB, Demers PA. Shift work trends and risk of work injury among Canadian workers. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, 2010, online firstScience DailyVancouver SunRisks 482 • 13 November 2010

Britain: Maersk fined for work sea hours failure
A major international shipping company has been fined after overworking seafarers and failing to obey an official improvement notice. AP Moller-Maersk was fined £18,500 this week and ordered to pay costs of £4,439 after admitting eight charges of failing to provide adequate hours of rest for the crew of a UK-registered containership and one charge of failing to improve the situation.
MCA news releaseNautilus news releaseRisks 480 • 30 October 2010

Britain: Bus firm fined for over-working drivers
A bus firm boss has had to pay out almost £100,000 after an investigation found his drivers were working exhausting shifts without adequate breaks for weeks at a time. Edward John Martin Bellamy, the director and transport manager of Bellamy Coaches, was also failed to keep records of work, an investigation by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) found.
Nottingham PostRisks 479 • 23 October 2010

Finland: Exhaustion trebles work death risk
Work-related exhaustion can be deadly for industrial workers, a new study has concluded. Finnish researchers found industrial employees who are under 45 years of age were almost three times as likely to die as other workers, with the most common causes of death tumour (34 per cent), accident (26 per cent), suicide (26 per cent) and coronary decease (22 per cent).
Trade Union News from FinlandBurnout as a predictor of all-cause mortality among industrial employees: A 10-year prospective register-linkage study, Journal of Psychosomatic Research volume 69, issue 1, pages 51-57, July 2010 [abstract] • Risks 464 • 10 July 2010

Britain: Union welcome for medic hours probe
The TUC has welcomed the findings of a government commissioned independent review, which concludes it is possible to deliver high quality training for hospital doctors within the 48 hour limit on average weekly working time.
TUC news release • Time for training - a review of the impact of the Working Time Directive on the quality of trainingRisks 461 • 19 June 2010

Britain: Irritable bowel syndrome caused by bad shifts
Bad shift patterns can cause classic symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a study of nurses has found. Researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School conclude that “practising gastroenterologists should be aware of this association and educate patients with IBS on the possible impact of their work schedule on their symptoms.”
University of Michigan news release. Borko Nojkov, Joel H Rubenstein, William D Chey, Willemijntje A Hoogerwerf. The impact of rotating shift work on the prevalence of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in nurses, American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/ajg.2010.48 [abstract] • Emaxhealth.comRisks 449 • 27 March 2010

Britain: Union welcomes ship fatigue inspections
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has warned that serious action will be taken against shipping companies found to be cutting staffing levels and flouting hours of rest requirements. The statement from the marine safety body has been welcomed by seafarers’ union Nautilus.
MCA news releaseNautilus news releaseRisks 446 • 6 March 2010

Britain: Overwork stress costs worker his job
A university worker who had to work 65 hours a week has received £110,000 in compensation after he had to give up work due to stress. UCU member Mark Bannister, 49, had a history of anxiety and depression and despite complaining about the excessive workload, nothing was done to alleviate the pressure.
UCU news releaseThompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 447 • 13 March 2010

Britain: Unpaid overtime reaches ‘extreme’ levels
The number of people working ‘extreme’ levels of unpaid overtime soared to almost 900,000 last year, with teachers and lawyers the most likely to put in hours of extra work, according to new figures released by the TUC. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “A long hours culture is bad for workers' health and family life - whether the hours are paid or not.”
TUC news releaseWork Your Proper Hours DayUNISON news releaseUCU news releaseThe GuardianRisks 446 • 6 March 2010

Britain: Shorter hours the key to a better future
A UK think tank has said that shorter working hours will be better for workers and the environment - but only if there is greater pay equity. Despite a recent trend to increased working time the new economics foundation (nef) forecasts a major shift in the length of the formal working week as a consequence of dealing with key economic, social and environmental problems.
Green jobs, safe jobs blogRisks 444 • 20 February 2010

USA: Long hours linked to deadly gas explosion
Workers in a Connecticut power plant that was rocked by an explosion which killed five people last week were often working more than 80 hours a week, reports say. It is also alleged that workers at the Kleen Energy Systems plant smelled gas less than an hour beforehand and were told to open doors wider for air.
Risks 443 • 13 February 2010

Britain: Over five million worked for free
Over five million workers across the UK gave away £27.4 billion in unpaid overtime in 2009, a TUC analysis of official statistics has found. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “This long hours culture causes stress and damages people's health.”
TUC news releaseWork Your Proper Hours DayThe IndependentPersonnel TodayRisks 439 • 16 January 2010

Japan: Firm worked employee to death
A restaurant chain in Japan has been accused of working one of its employees to death. The Osaka Central Labour Standards Inspection Office sent an investigation report on local restaurant chain Isoji and its 60-year-old president to the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office.
Mainichi JapanRisks 436 • 12 December 2009

Global: Night shifts linked to diabetes risk
Night shifts have been related to cancer and heart disease – and a new study suggests we should also add diabetes to the list of concerns. Michael Smolensky, co-editor of Chronobiology International, said “intelligent development of more health-preserving shift schedules together with efficient health screening and regular check-ups may be of considerable benefit in maintaining the health of this vulnerable group of workers.”
Medical News TodayPersonnel TodayRisks 436 • 12 December 2009

Britain: Long commute and long hours at work
Britain’s workers are facing an exhausting “double whammy” of long commutes and long hours at work, new figures have revealed. A TUC analysis of official statistics published this week shows UK workers spend 21.8 million hours travelling to and from work every day.
TUC news release • Commute Smart week • Risks 432 • 14 November 2009

Britain: Driven to exhaustion in vans and buses
The rules governing the working hours of bus, coach and van drivers are so out of date that many drivers have fewer breaks than office workers, the TUC has warned. In an October submission to a Department for Transport review, the TUC said long hours working is a direct cause of driver fatigue, which contributed to one in five road accidents last year.
TUC news releaseRisks 429 • 24 October 2009

Britain: Unite guide on shift and night work
The union Unite has issued new guidance on how union reps can organise shift- and nightwork to best protect health. The guide says: “A world increasingly working around the clock raises an issue which is of increasing concern for Unite – the health and safety implications for members who work shifts and at night.”
Shiftwork and nightwork: Unite health and safety briefing [pdf] • Risks 428 • 17 October 2009

Europe: Air crew protest sky high fatigue levels
Long flying hours are “putting lives at risk”, airline crew have warned. European air crew unions say current rules that govern flying hours are unsafe, with fatigue a factor in up to 15 per cent of accidents.
BALPA news releaseITF news releaseBBC News OnlineMorning StarRisks 427 • 10 October 2009

Britain: Worker unfairly fired for night shift nap
A Glasgow metal worker who was sacked for nodding off on night shift and missing a fire drill has been awarded £25,374 compensation for unfair dismissal. David Hart, 59, was dismissed for gross misconduct and complained he was unfairly sacked by the Waukesha Bearings factory in Glasgow after a clean 37-year service record.
Daily RecordThe HeraldRisks 420 • 22 August 2009

Europe: Victory on working hours for drivers
Europe’s transport unions have won support for safe driving hours. The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) applauded the European Parliament’s decision to reject a proposal on a revised working time directive for road transport.
ITF news reportRisks 407 • 23 May 2009

Britain: Shiftworkers get second class treatment
Shiftworkers in the UK are facing serious health risks but are getting second class safety because the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) clocks off outside normal office hours, according to a new report. Report author Professor Andrew Watterson calls for more HSE resources to be targeted at workers on atypical hours, rigorous enforcement of working time law, an end to the UK opt-out from the working time directive’s 48-hour working week ceiling, and for the UK government to follow the Danish government’s lead and compensate workers with breast cancer caused by long-term night work.
Stirling University news release. While you were sleeping, Hazards magazine, Number 106, 2009 and related working hours webpagesRisks 407 • 23 May 2009

Norway: Rail workers win violence protection
Railway workers in Norway have won improved protection against violence at work, following their unions’ lobbying efforts. Workers represented by Norsk Jernbaneforbund and Norsk Lokomotivmannsforbund won an amendment to existing criminal law after the union engaged the government in talks to improve the plight of railway workers who were experiencing increasing violence, particularly at night.
ITF news report Risks 406 • 16 May 2009

Australia: Night nurses warn of health fears
For the first time, the life-threatening physical and psychological effects of shift work are being used to push for bigger pay packets for nurses and midwives in New South Wales, Australia. The NSW Nurses Association launched its claim in the Industrial Relations Commission this week, calling in experts to cite studies linking shift work with higher rates of breast cancer, heart disease, miscarriage, clinical depression and divorce.
NSWNA news releaseSydney Morning HeraldRisks 405 
Hazards news, 9 May 2009

Britain: Government defends excessive working time
The TUC has criticised the government for its role in frustrating discussions in Europe to end the UK's opt-out from the 48-hour working week ceiling. A conciliation meeting last week between MEPs and employment ministers ended without agreement.
TUC news releaseBERR news releaseRisks 401
Hazards news, 11 April 2009

Europe: Cancer warning on night work
A top UK occupational health researcher has warned that the UK authorities are lagging behind their Scandinavian counterparts when it comes to action on night work hazards, linked to cancer and other chronic health problems. Stirling University’s Professor Andrew Watterson said the problem was being neither properly recognised nor addressed in the UK.
BBC News Online and The Investigation radio showThe ScotsmanTelegraphDaily MailThe GuardianRisks 398
Hazards news, 21 March 2009

Britain: ‘Robust’ action needed on sea fatigue
Seafarers’ union Nautilus is urging the government to act on an official call for measures to combat seafarer fatigue.                                     
Nautilus news releaseMAIB Antari investigation reportRisks 396
Hazards news, 7 March 2009

Britain: Recession brings unpaid work pressures
Around five million workers are doing an average of seven hours and six minutes unpaid overtime a week, according to the TUC. The number of people working unpaid overtime across the workforce has been stable since last year, the union body said, but added the recession was leading to some working longer hours and others struggling for work.
TUC news release and Work Your Proper Hours Day (27 February) adviceRisks 395
Hazards news, 28 February 2009

Britain: Unions welcome EU working time action
Trade unions have welcomed December’s decisive vote by the European Parliament to end the UK's opt-out from Europe's 48 hour average working week. To demonstrate the consequences of excessive working hours, GMB published a dossier of recent public and workplace deaths linked to overwork.
GMB news release and dossierUCATT news releasePCS news releaseRisks 388
Hazards news, 10 January 2009

Britain: TUC warning on unpaid overtime
More than five million people worked unpaid overtime in 2008, bringing its total value across the UK to a record £26.9 billion, according to a new analysis of official statistics published by the TUC. The union body warned a recent trend to shorter hours has been reversed and says the economic downturn could increase the pressure to work for free.
TUC news releaseWork Your Proper Hours Day, Friday 27 February 2009Risks 388
Hazards news, 10 January 2009

Britain: Rail unions to fight job cuts and zero hours
Rail unions have pledged to fight job cuts and plans to introduce zero hours contracts at the Deutschebahn-owned railfreight company EWS. Condemning the firm’s plan to sack 530 workers, RMT challenged EWS to confirm that there will be no compulsory job losses and that the firm will end the “disgraceful” practice of employing people on zero-hours contracts.
RMT news releaseTSSA news releaseASLEF news releaseLloyd’s ListRoad TransportRisks 387
Hazards news, 20 December 2008

Britain: Forty-eight hour opt out must go
Ending the UK’s opt-out from Europe’s 48 hour average working week would cause business little difficulty, the TUC has said. A TUC report published on 15 December, ahead of the vote at the European Parliament on the working hours rule, said the move would also improve the health and safety of long hours workers and reduce the risks of accidents caused by overtired and stressed workers.
TUC news release and report, Ending the opt-outs from the 48 hour week - Easy steps to decent working time [pdf] • NUJ news releasePSI news releaseSocialist Group in the European Parliament news releaseThe GuardianRisks 387
Hazards news, 20 December 2008

Europe: MEPs vote to end working time opt-out
The European Parliament has voted decisively to end the UK's opt-out from Europe's 48 hour average working week. MEPs voted by 421 to 273 to remove the opt-out from a revised working time directive approved by EU employment ministers in June; the European Parliament will now open negotiations with the Council of Ministers to seek agreement with them on the issue.
TUC news releaseRisks 387
Hazards news, 20 December 2008

Europe: MEPS vote to scrap work hours opt-out
The TUC has welcomed a decision by the employment and social affairs committee of the European Parliament to scrap the Working Time Directive opt-out within three years. The amendments proposed by the committee will be the considered at a plenary session at the European Parliament’s December meeting, and will need an absolute major vote to be adopted. 
European Parliament news releaseTUC news releaseETUC news releaseRisks 381
Hazards news, 8 November 2008

Britain: Bank holiday needed to ease stresses
As recession and work worries hit home, workers need a break – and a new bank holiday could be just the job. On 27 October - the halfway point of the longest gap between UK bank holidays - the TUC and the UK's leading voluntary organisations put their case for a new Community Day bank holiday.
TUC news releaseCommunity Day campaign • Why the UK can afford a Community Day [pdf] • Risks 380
Hazards news, 1 November 2008

Britain: Commute times starting to decline
The number of people spending more than one hour per day commuting to work fell by 206,000 in 2007, according to TUC. The TUC analysis of official Labour Force Survey (LFS) figures - produced to coincide with Workwise UK's Commute Smart week, the last week in October -  shows a fall of one per cent from 2006 in employees undertaking commuter journeys of longer than one hour.
Work Wise UK news release and Commute Smart Week webpagesTUC news releaseRisks 380
Hazards news, 1 November 2008

Britain: Work’s stresses and strains are top concerns
Stress or overwork, injuries and illnesses caused by the poor use of display screen equipment and repetitive strain injuries (RSI) top the list of workers' safety concerns, according to the TUC's biennial survey of safety reps.
TUC news releaseWales TUC news releaseNorthern TUC news releaseTUC biennial survey of safety reps 2008Risks 380
Hazards news, 1 November 2008

Britain: Unions reduce long hours burden
UK workers still work the longest hours in Western Europe, but UK unions have been particularly effective in winning shorter hours for their members. A report last week from Eurofound - the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions - revealed that full-time employees in the UK put in 41.4 hours per week.
Eurofound news release and full reportRisks 373
Hazards, 13 September 2008

Australia: Sleepy shift workers on crash course
Sleep-deprived shift workers are driving themselves to car crashes, trauma surgeons and early graves. While only 14 per cent of Australians are regular shift workers, they make up half the road trauma patients treated at one hospital.
Herald Sun and related story on fatigued ambulance workers.
Risks 272

Hazards news, 6 September 2008

Britain: Overwork and stress are top work concerns
Overwork and stress are the top problems facing workers, according to new TUC research. Its 'What workers want' report is based on an extensive YouGov poll of more than 2,500 people at work in Britain, and identifies safety as both a top three concern and an action priority.
What workers want - an agenda from the workplace, for the workplace, full report [pdf] and poll figures [pdf] • Risks 272
Hazards news, 6 September 2008

Britain: New bank holiday would benefit businesses
Nearly one million UK businesses could benefit from a new bank holiday with workers also benefiting from improved health and well-being, according to a new TUC report. TUC is calling for a ‘Community Day’ bank holiday in late October “to celebrate and encourage volunteering and community activity.”
Community Day campaign • Why the UK can afford a Community Day, TUC report [pdf] • Risks 371
Hazards news, 30 August 2008

Britain: Action needed on hours at sea
Port authorities need to get tough on seafarers’ working hours, the union Nautilus UK has warned.
Risks 364
Hazards news, 12 July 2008

Norway: Overtime causes anxiety and depression
If you work a lot of overtime, especially on a low income or doing heavy manual labour, you're at increased risk of anxiety and depression. Researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway found even moderate overtime hours appears to raise the risk of “mental distress” and said their results support EU-style regulation setting a working hours ceiling.
Elisabeth Kleppa, Bjarte Sanne and Grethe S Tell. Working overtime is associated with anxiety and depression: The Hordaland Health Study, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 50, number 6, pages 658-666, June 2008 [abstract] • Risks 361
Hazards news, 21 June 2008

Britain: Mixed progress on agency and hours laws
The UK government will keep its opt-out from the European Union’s 48 hour weekly work ceiling, but has agreed a series of improvements to working time rules. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the Socialist Group of MEPs in the European Parliament have both said they will challenge the working time compromise.
TUC news release and briefing on changes to working time rulesETUC news releaseSocialist Group of MEPs news releaseBERR news releaseRisks 360
Hazards news, 14 June 2008

Britain: Unwelcome return of the long hours culture
An extra 180,000 people across the UK are now working more than 48 hours a week, according to a TUC analysis of official statistics. The figures, included in a new TUC report, ‘The return of the long hours culture’, show the number of people working long hours has increased at a faster rate over the last year than the decline in excessive working between 1998 and 2006.
TUC news release and report, The return of the long hours culture [pdf] • Risks 360
Hazards news, 14 June 2008

Japan: Toyota acts on deadly overwork
Toyota is taking steps to deal with a corporate culture that been linked to deaths from overwork. From June, the company is to pay workers overtime for attending out-of-hours ‘kaizen’ or quality control (QC) circle meetings - it previously only allowed workers to claim two hours' overtime a month for such “voluntary” activities.
Asahi ShimbunBBC News OnlineMore on karoshi and karojisatsuRisks 358
Hazards news, 31 May 2008

Britain: Government warning on driver fatigue
One in five of all crashes on major roads are caused by tired drivers but research shows many motorists are ignoring the simplest sign - the common yawn - that it's time for a break. A new government campaign featuring acting star Joseph Fiennes sets out to remind motorists of the dangers of driving when tired – and says it is a particular problem for working drivers.
DfT news release and driver fatigue campaignRisks 349
Hazards news, 29 March 2008

USA: Long work hours create deadly risks
Prolonged work days that often extend late into the night may cause Americans to fall asleep or feel sleepy at work, drive drowsy and lose interest in sex, according to a Sleep in America poll released by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Darrel Drobnich, NSF acting chief executive officer, said: “The impact of not getting good sleep is far reaching and has Americans compromising their productivity, safety, health and relationships – both on the job and at home.”
National Sleep Foundation news releaseRisks 346
Hazards news, 8 March 2008

Brazil: Injunction forces hours cut for truckers
A court in Brazil has ruled that companies should limit truckers’ working day to eight hours on safety grounds. The preliminary injunction, which was imposed by prosecutors in Cuiaba in Mato Grasso, applies to transport companies across Brazil and came in response to evidence that trucks are involved in 70 per cent of accidents on Mato Grasso highway and that over half (51 per cent) of truckers passing through Mato Grosso use or have used drugs to stay awake.
ITF news reportRisks 346
Hazards news, 8 March 2008

Britain: Capital drivers push bus firms for hours cut
London's 23,000 bus drivers are demanding a standard wage and safe driving hours across all the city's bus operators. Safety measures in the claim include a maximum of 4 hours and 30 minutes of continuous driving duty before a break, 7 hours and 36 minutes maximum time on duty per day, and a limit of 38 hours per week on duty.
Unite news releaseRisks 346
Hazards news, 8 March 2008

Britain: Victory on offshore working time
Unions have hailed a “fantastic” tribunal ruling giving about 10,000 offshore workers two weeks' paid holidays. The decision, affecting drillers, caterers and subsea workers, follows a long-running battle over offshore workers’ rights under the Working Time Regulations.
Risks 345
Hazards news, 1 March 2008

Britain: Firms are not learning long hours lesson
The average British manager works the equivalent of 40 days a year in unpaid overtime, a survey has revealed. The Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) survey of 1,511 managers found 89 per cent regularly worked more than their contracted hours, with the benefit to industry and commerce 184 million extra days of unpaid effort, but the downside lower morale, poor health and declining productivity.
CMI news releaseRisks 344
Hazards news, 23 February 2008

Britain: TUC warning on driving hours review
The government must improve driving time rules for professional drivers, TUC has said. Commenting on the Department for Transport's review of the working time regulations for heavy goods vehicle (HGV) and coach drivers, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “This review has identified substantial abuse of the law,” adding: “This must be addressed as a matter of urgency in order to keep our roads safe.”
TUC news releaseITF news releaseRisks 344
Hazards news, 23 February 2008

Britain: Go on, work your proper hours!
Nearly five million people are putting in an average of over seven hours unpaid overtime a week. If they worked all their unpaid overtime at the start of the year, 22 February would be the first day they’d get paid, which is why the TUC have named this date 'Work Your Proper Hours Day'.
TUC news releaseWork Your Proper Hours Day, 22 February 2008Risks 343
Hazards news, 16 February 2008

Britain: Shiftwork linked early retirement in women
Shiftwork may increase the risk of enforced early retirement among women, suggests new research. Researchers used information from just under 8,000 male and female employees, who were part of the Danish Work Environment Cohort Study, which began in 1990, and data from the national welfare register.
Finn Tüchsen, Karl Bang Christensen, Thomas Lund, and Helene Feveile, A 15 year prospective study of shift work and disability pension, Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Published Online First: 15 January 2008. doi:10.1136/oem.2007.036525 [Abstract] • Risks 339
Hazards news, 19 January 2008

Australia: Action call on shiftwork cancer risk
One of Australia's biggest unions has called for a review of working hours after an International Agency for Research on Cancer study found people who work night shifts have a higher risk of contracting cancer. AWU national health and safety officer, Yossi Berger, said the “frightening report” had confirmed the union's worst fears, and added: “You can earn a lot more money working these shifts but you may find yourself using the money on a designer oxygen tent.”
AWU news release • IARC news release [pdf] • Global union zero cancer campaignRisks 338
Hazards news,12 January 2008

Britain: Overworked probation officer 'forced out'
An overworked probation officer was forced to sell his house and car as he pursued a three-year legal battle to prove he was a victim of discrimination. Now an employment tribunal has ruled that Steven Collingwood, 38, of Carlisle, did suffer disability discrimination and harassment after a nervous breakdown was brought on by overwork in November 2004.
News and StarWorked to death resourcesRisks 338
Hazards news,12 January 2008

Britain: Pilots welcome call for fatigue probe
A call for research into the long term effects of fatigue on air crew has been welcomed by pilots’ union BALPA.
BALPA news releaseScience and Technology – First report, House of Lords Science and Technology Committee
Hazards news, 22 December 2007

Japan: Court rules man was worked to death
A court in central Japan has ordered the government to pay compensation to a woman who argued that her 30-year-old husband died from overwork at Toyota Motor Corp, Japan's largest car maker. Hiroko Uchino filed the suit after a local Labour Ministry office rejected applications for workers’ compensation benefits she filed after the death of her husband, Kenichi, said Hiroko Tamaki, a lawyer for the plaintiff.
Japan TimesSan Francisco ChronicleMore from Hazards on karoshi and karojisatsu
Hazards news, 8 December 2007

Britain: Long hours working on the rise again
A culture of working long hours is on the rise once more in the UK after a decade of gradual decline, according to figures published this week by the TUC. More than one in eight of the British workforce now work more than 48 hours a week, the maximum allowed under the law unless workers agree to waive that limit - HSE’s enforcement database records just two successful prosecutions for breaches of the 1998 Working Time Regulations.
TUC news releaseBBC News Online
Hazards news, 1 December 2007

USA: Work 'the biggest sleep robber'
Time spent at work is the single most important lifestyle factor that impacts on sleep, a new study has reported. US researchers found the more hours you work the less sleep you get.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine news release • Mathias Basner and others. American Time Use Survey: Sleep time and its relationship to waking activities, Sleep, volume 30, issue 9, pages 1,085-1,095, 2007 [abstract]
Hazards news, 8 September 2007

Britain: Civil servants suffer from overwork
Excessive workloads are forcing over half of full-time civil servants to work excessive hours just to keep up, a study has found, with many now working while sick. Research for the union PCS found 45.8 per cent of workers surveyed put in between 40 and 48 hours and concluded 1 in 20 workers was breaking the working time regulations – introduced as a health and safety measure - by working over 49 hours per week.
PCS news release
Hazards news, 25 August 2007

Britain: Workers protest at damaging hours changes
Factory workers held a demonstration outside their workplace on 31 July, angered by plans to introduce “family unfriendly” and potentially unsafe shift patterns. Supported by members of Unite’s TGWU section, workers from the Hilton Food Group plc in Huntingdon protested outside of the premises against the plans to extend their shifts by five hours per day, because they believe the move would have a negative impact on their family life and on workplace safety.
Unite news releasePeterborough Today
Hazards news, 11 August 2007

Britain: Wake-up call on shift work and heart disease
People who are routinely up all night working the late shift are more likely to show stress symptoms linked to deadly heart problems, Dutch researchers report. Investigators discovered more of the shift work group developed 'premature ventricular complexes' (PVC), a condition associated with extra heartbeats and an increased risk of death due to heart disease. Doctors measured changes in heartbeat and variations in heart rate in 49 employees working shifts, including nights, and 22 employees working normal day hours. All the employees were newly in post, and the measurements were taken between one week and two months after starting the new job and again after they had been in post for 12 months. "The incidence of PVC increased significantly in shift workers over the 1-year follow-up, compared with daytime workers," the researchers write in the September issue of the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The study found that nearly half the shift workers experienced an increase in PVCs, while just more than one quarter of day-shift workers saw an increase. The authors suggest that working at night may be a chronic stressor for the body and that the increased frequency of early heartbeat patterns might be a factor in the higher risk of heart disease among shift workers.
Ludovic van Amelsvoort and others. Changes in frequency of premature complexes and heart rate variability related to shift work, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, vol.58, pages 678-81, 2001 [pdf version of technical research paper] • Risks 19
Hazards news, 15 September 2001


For earlier working time news stories, see:


Working hours
and health

It’s not just what we do that can hurt us at work, it is when we do it. Night work and shiftwork have been linked to serious conditions from cancer to heart disease. Fatigue can be deadly. The hours we work are a crucial healt h and safety issue.


Stress and work-life balance

Work-related suicide

Worked to death/overwork


Work patterns and hours

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