A team of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that many lives are lost around the world due to long working hours. They have said that it is happening in worsening tendency across the globe. The COVID19 pandemic might accelerate this trend even further, said the experts. The study has found that thousands of people have been dying due to long working hours each year across the world. Health experts have said that it is the first large-scale study that has been done on a global level, which has looked at the loss of life linked to long working hours. The study has found that around 745000 people have lost their lives in 2016 due to strokes and heart disease that are linked with long working hours. It is nearly a 30 percent increase in the rate of global death linked to long working hours as compared to the death toll in 2000. The director of the Department of Environment Climate Change and Health of the WHO, Maria Neira ha said that working 55 hours or more than that per week is considered a severe health risk. She has said that with the findings of the new study, her team wants to spread awareness and promote more efforts to protect workers across the world. The findings of the WHO study have been released in the journal Environment International.
The study has been done by the WHO in association with the International Labour Organization. Experts who have been involved in the study have said that most victims of long working hours have been men and they have been middle-aged or older. Around 72 percent of victims of long working hours have been men, said the experts. The deaths of the employees who have been working for late hours have happened much later in life. The study has found that people who are residing in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific region that comprises China, Japan, and Australia are highly affected by this trend. The study has included data from 194 countries across the world. The authors of the study have said that working for 55 hours or more is linked to a 35 percent greater risk of stroke and a 17 percent increased risk of death due to ischemic heart disease as compared to 30 to 40 hours of working per week. The study has started in 2000 and has been concluded in 2016. Therefore, the study has not included the data from the COVID19 pandemic that has hit the world in 2019. The officials from the WHO have said that an increase in remote working and economic crisis inflicted by the COVID19 pandemic might have shot up the risks.
Health experts from the World Health Organization have said that the COVID19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of some factors that can feed this worsening trend in the direction of increased working hours. As per the report from the WHO, nearly nine percent of people work for long hours around the world. Many employees from the WHO itself including the chief of the organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus have said that they have been working long hours during the COVID19 crisis. Dr. Maria Neira has said that considering the findings of the study, the UN agency should work towards improving its policy. Frank Pega, who is a technical officer in the World Health Organization, has said that authorities should consider capping working hours. It might be beneficial for workers, as it has been proven to be effective in increasing the productivity of employees. He has said that it would be a great decision to not increase working hours in times of economic crisis.