New analysis from the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization has found that long working hours led to 745,000 deaths from stroke and heart disease in 2016.
The findings, which are the first real look at the loss of life and health associated with overworking, reveal that the number of deaths from heart disease due to long hours increased by 42% from 2000 to 2016.
These findings solidify the impact that long work hours have on the health of people. Since long hours are responsible for one-third of work-related health issues, it is the largest occupational disease burden.
In fact, the study states that working 55 or more hours each week is associated with a 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, compared to those working 35 to 40 hours a week.
This analysis comes at a time when the pandemic has shined a light on overworking and widespread burnout for newly remote workers.
“Teleworking has become the norm in many industries, often blurring the boundaries between home and work,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “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. 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.”