The findings of a World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) study revealed that the number of deaths due to long working hours has increased significantly in the recent years and it is imperative for governments and employers to take proactive actions at the earliest to protect workers’ health.
In what is the first global analysis of the loss of life and health associated with working long hours, the WHO and ILO estimate that in 2016, 398000 people died from stroke and 347000 from heart disease, as a result of having worked at least 55 hours a week
“Working 55 hours or more per week is a serious health hazard. It’s time that we all, governments, employers and employees wake up to the fact that long working hours can lead to premature death,” stated WHO Environment, Climate Change and Health Department Director Dr. Maria Neira, commenting on the study.
According to the findings published in ‘Environment International’ earlier this morning, between 2000 and 2016, the number of deaths from heart disease due to working long hours increased by 42 percent and from stroke by 19 percent.
The findings revealed that most of the deaths recorded were among people dying aged 60-79 years, who had worked for 55 hours or more per week between the ages of 45 and 74 years.
The report highlighted that the number of people working long hours is increasing and currently stands at 9 percent of the total population globally.
“This trend puts even more people at risk of work-related disability and early death,” the report cautioned.
This work-related disease burden is particularly significant in men (72 percent of deaths occurred among males), people living in the Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions and middle-aged or older workers.