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Report warns that stress, long working hours killing workers

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Stress and excessively-long working hours 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.

This is according to a report released by the International Labour Organisation-ILO. According to the report, the greatest causes of mortality are circulatory diseases (31 per cent), work-related cancers (26 per cent) and respiratory diseases (17 per cent).

The deaths are a result of new or existing occupational risks that affect women more than men. These include modern working practices, population growth, increased digital connectivity and climate change.

The report says 36 per cent of workers are working excessively long hours, meaning more than 48 hours per week mainly because of changes in the world of work which have turned every moment into office time as technology advances.

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. It underlines ILO’s message that no paid work should threaten a person’s well being, their safety or their life.

Manal Azzi, an Occupational Safety and Health Specialist with the International Labour Organisation, highlighted that women are particularly at risk because they tend to be the primary caregivers for children or parents and lack the time to exercise.

She added that besides working from offices, women work even more from within the home set up, sometimes engaging in sedentary work and that affects cardiovascular diseases as well.

She added that serious consideration should 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.

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