Worker safety

WHO study finds increased risk of death from working 55 or more hours per week

world health organization WHO international labour labor organization ILO research report overwork weekly 55 hours long working health outcomes poor stroke heart disease death fatality
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A picture taken on May 8, 2021 shows a sign of the World Health Organization (WHO) at the entrance of their headquarters in Geneva amid the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. 

A World Health Organization (WHO) study found that people who work 55 or more hours per week face a greater risk of dying from strokes or heart disease.

In a Monday statement, the WHO shared a study that found that working 55 hours or more per week is linked with an estimated 35 percent higher risk of a stroke and a 17 percent higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease. 

In 2016, 745,000 people died from stroke and ischemic heart disease around the world, according to the WHO, a 29 percent increase from the 2000.

The study also found that the work-related burden of disease is particularly significant among men, people who live in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia regions, and workers who are middle-aged or older. 

The WHO said the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the issue of managing work hours and that “teleworking has become the norm in many industries.”

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, millions of people began working from home, raising questions about how much that will end as the pandemic eases.

“Working 55 hours or more per week is a serious health hazard,” Maria Neira, director of the WHO’s Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, said in the study. “It’s time that we all, governments, employers, and employees wake up to the fact that long working hours can lead to premature death.”

Tags Worker Safety World Health Organization

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