Worldwide, nearly 2 million people die every year from work-related illnesses and accidents. That writes the United Nations in a report. Diseases caused by very long working hours are a significant cause of death, according to the researchers.
The study covers the period from 2000 to 2016 and therefore does not include the impact of the corona crisis on working conditions. However, the UN does believe that the pandemic has exacerbated the situation.
According to the UN, the most significant risk factor is very long working hours, which is defined as 55 hours a week or more. For example, due to heart failure and strokes from very long working hours, the researchers say three-quarters of a million people died in 2016. But lung diseases due to exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos and air pollution, heavy physical work and accidents in the workplace are also important causes of death.
“It is shocking to see so many people being literally killed by their work,” said World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Our report is a wake-up call to countries and companies to improve the health and safety of workers.”
Incidentally, the percentage of work-related deaths per 100,000 workers in the world has decreased since 2000. But due to the growing world population, the numbers remain fairly stable in absolute terms.