The World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organization (ILO) joined forces to execute a study on working hours. The details the groups discovered were alarming for the nation. They found that long working hours are killing hundreds of thousands of people per year.
Details of the Study
The WHO and ILO estimated that 745,000 people died from a stroke or ischemic heart disease in 2016. These are two results of stress, which was the foundation of the study. The WHO and ILO wanted to see the proportion of these deaths were associated with extensive job hours.
The total of stroke and ischemic heart disease has increased by 29% since 2000. There are various external reasons for this spike, including the obesity rate, but the WHO and ILO were just examining workdays.
The study was published on Monday in the Environmental Journal. This study was a milestone for research because it was the first time that death and working hours were utilized in a major study.
Of the 745,000 people, 398,000 died from a stroke, and 347,000 passed from heart disease because of working at least 55 hours per week for an extended period. Between 2000 and 2016, extensive workdays caused heart disease deaths to rise by 42%. Over the same period, stroke deaths increased by 19%.
Study results on long working hours
After an intense study, the WHO and ILO concluded that 55 working hours or more per week is directly associated with a 35% higher chance of stroke and a 17% higher chance of dying from ischemic heart disease.
In 2016, there were over 488 million people throughout the world who worked more than 55 hours. If this trend continues, stroke and heart disease deaths will continue to grow.
The WHO also studied the areas of the world where the trend is frequent. Males were more susceptible than women to working over 55 hours in a week. This is because 72% of the 745,000 deaths were men.
The Western Pacific was the area of the world where most of the deaths occurred. The WHO counts the Western Pacific as China, South Korea, Australia, and Japan. Southeast Asia was also a territory where many people died because of long working hours.
WHO AND ILO RESPONSES
The WHO and ILO released a statement in the study stating, “Most of the deaths recorded were among people dying aged 60-79 years, who had worked for 55 hours or more per week between the ages of 45 and 74 years. With working long hours now known to be responsible for about one-third of the total estimated work-related burden of disease, it is established as the risk factor with the largest occupational disease burden.”
The results were generated from 37 studies on ischemic heart disease and 22 on strokes. They also examined 2,300 surveys from 154 countries that were taken between 1970 and 2018.
Working hours are increasing, which is a concern for the WHO and ILO. The pandemic is increasing extensive workdays because people are trying to recover financially from the deficit. Also, operating from home is allowing people to use more hours for work.