Long working hours a killer, COVID could be making it worse: WHO study
New Delhi, May 17: A new study has revealed that long working hours is killing hundreds of thousands of people a year in a worsening trend. The study comes at a time when working hours has been increased due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to global research published in journal Environmental International, 745,000 people died from stroke and heart disease associated with long working hours in 2016.
That was an increase of nearly 30% from 2000.
This work-related disease burden is particularly significant in men (72% of deaths occurred among males), people living in the Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions, and middle-aged or older workers.
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 study concludes that working 55 or more hours per week is associated with an estimated 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, compared to working 35-40 hours a week.
Further, the number of people working long hours is increasing, and currently stands at 9% of the total population globally. If the trend continous, more people at risk of work-related disability and early death.
"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 Organization.
"It's time that we all, governments, employers, and employees wake up to the fact that long working hours can lead to premature death".