Stress, overtime and disease contribute to 2.8 million workers’ deaths per year, reports UN labour agency

GENEVA, Stress, excessively-long working hours and disease, contribute to the deaths of nearly 2.8 million workers every year, while an additional 374 million people get injured or fall ill because of their jobs, the UN labour agency, ILO, said on Thursday.

In a new report underlining ILO’s message that no paid work should threaten your wellbeing, your safety or your life, the agency identifies several new or existing occupational risks of growing concern, that affect women more than men. These include modern working practices overall, world population growth, increased digital connectivity and climate change, which are believed to account for losses of almost four per cent of the global economy.

“The world of work has changed, we’re working differently, we’re working longer hours, we’re using more technology,” ILO’s Manal Azzi told UN News. “The report says 36 percent of workers are working excessive long hours, meaning more than 48 hours per week.”

The greatest proportion of work-related deaths � 86 percent � come from disease, according to ILO, with some 6,500 people a day dying from occupational diseases, compared to 1,000 from fatal occupational accidents.

The greatest causes of mortality are circulatory diseases (31 percent), work-related cancers (26 percent) and respiratory diseases (17 per cent).

Launched during the ILO’s centenary year � and ahead of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on 28 April, the report underlines the life-saving value of promoting prevention, to save lives and encourage healthy working environments.

“Serious consideration should also be given to the recommendation of the ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work, that occupational safety and health be recognized as a fundamental principle and right at work,” Ms. Azzi said.

Since 1919, the ILO has adopted more than 40 international labour standards promoting occupational health and safety. These relate to specific risks such as ionizing radiation, asbestos and cancer-causing chemicals, to specific risky activities including agriculture, construction and mining.

Source: Emirates News Agency