Working 55 hours or more per week increases the risk of stroke by 35% and death by 17% compared to working 35-40 hours per week. Ringing the alarm bell is the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) in a research published today. In 2016, the two organizations note, 398,000 people died from stroke 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 related to long working hours increased by 42%, a number that stands at 19% for strokes. Most affected were men (72% of deaths are men), people living in the Western Pacific region and Southeast Asia, and middle-aged or older workers. Most of the deaths recorded involved people aged between 60 and 79 who had worked at least 55 hours a week when they were between 45 and 74 years old. The number of people who work with long working hours, underline the WHO and ILO, is increasing and currently represents 9% of the total world population: this trend exposes even more people to a risk of disability or premature death linked at work. This analysis, underlines the two international organizations, comes as the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the management of working time and has accelerated the evolutions likely to create an increase in working hours. “The pandemic – said WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – has considerably changed the way many people work. Telework has become a norm in many sectors of activity, making the boundaries between home and work disappear. D “On the other hand, many companies have been forced to curtail or shut down their operations to save money and people who continue to work end up working extended hours. No job is worth a risk of stroke or heart disease.” Governments, employers and workers must work together to develop limits that protect the health of workers. ” Working 55 hours or more a week, comments Maria Neira, director of the Environment and Health Department at ILO, “is a serious health hazard. It is time for governments, employers and employees to admit that working hours prolonged work can cause premature deaths “.
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