Working lengthy hours is killing lots of of hundreds of individuals a yr in a worsening development that will speed up additional as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, the World Well being Group mentioned on Monday.
Within the first international research of the lack of life related to longer working hours, the paper within the journal Surroundings Worldwide confirmed that 745,000 folks died from stroke and coronary heart illness related to lengthy working hours in 2016.
That was a rise of almost 30% from 2000.
“Working 55 hours or extra per week is a severe well being hazard,” mentioned Maria Neira, director of the WHO’s Division of Surroundings, Local weather Change and Well being. What we need to do with this info is promote extra motion, extra safety of employees,” she mentioned.
The joint research, produced by the WHO and the Worldwide Labour Group, confirmed that almost all victims (72%) have been males and have been middle-aged or older. Typically, the deaths occurred a lot later in life, typically a long time later, than the shifts labored.
It additionally confirmed that folks residing in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific area — a WHO-defined area which incorporates China, Japan and Australia — have been essentially the most affected.
General, the research – drawing on knowledge from 194 international locations – mentioned that working 55 hours or extra per week is related to a 35% larger danger of stroke and a 17% larger danger of dying from ischemic coronary heart illness in contrast with a 35-40 hour working week.
The research coated the interval 2000-2016, and so didn’t embody the COVID-19 pandemic, however WHO officers mentioned the surge in distant working and the worldwide financial slowdown ensuing from the coronavirus emergency could have elevated the dangers.
“The pandemic is accelerating developments that would feed the development in direction of elevated working time,” the WHO mentioned, estimating that at the least 9 per cent of individuals work lengthy hours.
WHO employees, together with its chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, say they’ve been working lengthy hours in the course of the pandemic and Neira mentioned the U.N. company would search to enhance its coverage in mild of the research.
Capping hours could be useful for employers since that has been proven to extend employee productiveness, WHO technical officer Frank Pega mentioned.
“It’s actually a sensible alternative to not improve lengthy working hours in an financial disaster.”