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Working 55 hours a week increases the risk of death: UN

Working 55 hours a week increases the risk of death: UN

Working more than 55 hours a week increases the risk of dying from heart disease and stroke, according to a UN study published on Monday.

A report from the agencies of the World Health Organization and the United Nations International Labor Organization released the Covid-19 pandemic is accelerating change in the workplace, which could exacerbate the trend towards longer working hours.

The WHO-ILO study, published in the journal Environment International, is the first comprehensive analysis of the life and health risks associated with long working hours.

It does not focus on the pandemic, but on previous years. The authors summarized data from dozens of studies involving hundreds of thousands of participants.

“Working 55 hours or more per week is a serious health risk,” said Maria Neira, director of the WHO Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health.

“It’s time for all of us – governments, employers and employees – to understand that long hours of work can lead to premature death.”

The study concluded that working 55 hours or more per week was associated with a 35% increased risk of stroke and a 17% increased risk of death from coronary heart disease, compared with 35-40 hours of work.

Distant work
In 2016, WHO and ILO estimate that 398,000 people died from strokes and 347,000 from heart disease after working at least 55 hours a week.

Between 2000 and 2016, the number of deaths from heart disease associated with long hours of work increased by 42 percent and the number of strokes increased by 19 percent.

Most of the reported deaths were in people between the ages of 60 and 79 who worked 55 hours or more per week between the ages of 45 and 74.

“Since long hours of work are now known to account for about one third of the estimated total burden of occupational disease, it is considered the risk factor with the highest burden of occupational disease,” the WHO said.

The organization also said the coronavirus crisis is accelerating events that could contribute to the trend towards longer working hours.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly changed the way many people work,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Teleworking has become the norm in many industries, often blurring the lines between home and work. In addition, many companies have been forced to scale or close operations to save money, and people who are still getting paid end up working more hours.

“No job is worth the risk of stroke or heart attack. Governments, employers and workers must work together to agree on restrictions to protect workers’ health. ”

Source: – Guardian Ng

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