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Overwork Killed More Than 745,000 People In A Year, WHO Study Finds

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  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

    Mar 5, 2019
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    Working long hours poses an occupational health risk that kills hundreds of thousands of people each year, the World Health Organization says.


    People working 55 or more hours each week face an estimated 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared to people following the widely accepted standard of working 35 to 40 hours in a week, the WHO says in a study that was published Monday in the journal Environment International.

    "No job is worth the risk of stroke or heart disease," WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, calling on governments, businesses and workers to find ways to protect workers' health.

    The global study, which the WHO calls the first of its kind, found that in 2016, 488 million people were exposed to the risks of working long hours.

    In all, more than 745,000 people died that year from overwork that resulted in stroke and heart disease, according to the WHO.

    "Between 2000 and 2016, the number of deaths from heart disease due to working long hours increased by 42%, and from stroke by 19%," the WHO said as it announced the study, which it conducted with the International Labour Organization.

    a map the WHO published with the study. That proportion is similar to Brazil and Canada — and much lower than Mexico and in countries across most of Central and South America.

    Several steps could help ease the burden on workers, the study states, including governments adopting and enforcing labor standards on working time.

    The authors also say employers should be more flexible in scheduling, and to agree with their employees on a maximum number of working hours. In another step, the study suggests workers arrange to share hours so no one is working 55 or more hours in a week.

    To compile the report, researchers reviewed and analyzed dozens of studies on heart disease and stroke. They then estimated workers' health risks based on data drawn a number of sources, including more than 2,300 surveys on working hours that were conducted in 154 countries from the 1970s through 2018.


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