Working long hours can increase risk of death, according to a first-of-its-kind study by the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization.
Why it matters: The study does not cover the pandemic, but its authors say that working long hours is now the risk factor with the largest occupational disease burden.
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The study was published in Environment International on Monday.
By the numbers: As a result of working at least 55 hours per week, about 398,000 people died from stroke and 347,000 from heart disease in 2016.
The number of deaths from heart disease due to working long hours jumped by 42% between 2000 and 2016.
Compared to working 35 to 40 hours per week, working 55 or more hours weekly is associated with an estimated 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease.
This higher risk is "particularly significant" in middle-aged or older workers, men and people living in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia regions.
Working long hours is responsible for about one-third of all estimated work-related burden of disease.
What they're saying: "The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the way many people work," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. "Teleworking has become the norm in many industries, often blurring the boundaries between home and work.
"In addition, many businesses have been forced to scale back or shut down operations to save money, and people who are still on the payroll end up working longer hours," he said.
"No job is worth the risk of stroke or heart disease. Governments, employers and workers need to work together to agree on limits to protect the health of workers."
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