Long working hours increasing deaths from heart disease, stroke – WHO, ILO




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GENEVA – A joint WHO/ILO report reaching PANA on Friday said long working hours led 745,000 from stroke and ischemic heart disease 2016.
According latest estimates by World Health and International Labour , published Environment International, this represents a 29 per cent increase since 2000.
a first global analysis of loss of and health associated with working long hours, WHO and ILO estimate that, 2016, 398,000 people died from stroke and 347,000 from heart disease as a result of having worked at least 55 hours a week.
“Between 2000 and 2016, the of from heart disease due working long hours increased by 42 per cent, and from stroke by 19 per cent,” the joint report said.
“This work-related disease burden is particularly significant in men (72% of occurred among males), people living in the Western Pacific and -East Asia regions, and middle-aged or older workers. Most of the deaths recorded were among people aged 60-79 years, who had worked for 55 hours or per week between the ages of 45 and 74 years.
“With working long hours known to be responsible for about one-third of the total estimated work-related burden of disease, it is established as the risk factor with the largest occupational disease burden. This shifts thinking towards a relatively new and psychosocial occupational risk factor to human health,” the report stated.
The study concludes that working 55 or hours per week is associated with an estimated 35 per cent higher risk of a stroke and a 17 per cent higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, compared to working 35-40 hours a week.
“Further, the of people working long hours is increasing, and currently stands at 9 per cent of the total population globally.  This trend puts even more people at risk of work-related disability and early death.
“The new analysis comes as the shines a spotlight on working hours; the pandemic is accelerating developments that could feed the trend towards increased working time.”
“The has significantly changed the way many people work,“ said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General.
“Teleworking has become the norm in many industries, often blurring the boundaries between home and work. In addition, many have been forced to scale back or shut down operations to save money, and people who are still on the payroll end up working longer hours. No job is worth the risk of stroke or heart disease. Governments, employers and workers need to work together to agree on limits to protect the health of workers.”
“Working 55 hours or more per week is a serious health hazard,” added Dr Maria Neira, Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, at the World Health .
“It’s time that we all, governments, employers, and employees wake up to the that long working hours can lead to premature death.”
The report encourages governments, employers and workers to take actions to protect workers’ health, such as introducing, implementing and enforcing laws, regulations and policies that ban mandatory overtime and ensure maximum limits on working time.
Other include resort to bipartite or collective bargaining agreements between employers and workers’ associations to arrange working time to be more flexible, while at the same time agreeing on a maximum of working hours.
“Employees could share working hours to ensure that numbers of hours worked do climb above 55 or more per week,” the report recommended. (PANA/NAN)