2021 occupational disease: long working hours are one of the main causes of workers’ death. It is urgent to pay attention to and prevent occupational disease injuries. Recently, the research report jointly released by the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization shows that occupational related diseases and industrial injuries cause nearly 2 million deaths worldwide every year, most of which are caused by respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, long working hours are also one of the main causes of workers’ death.
The report points out that it is urgent to pay attention to and prevent occupational diseases from harming workers’ health.
On September 17, the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization jointly released the joint assessment of occupational related diseases and injuries (2000-2016): global monitoring report. The report covers 19 occupational related risk factors, including long-time work, workplace air pollution, exposure to asthma sources or carcinogens.
The report points out that 81% of the total deaths are caused by non communicable occupational related diseases, including 450000 deaths caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 400000 deaths caused by stroke and 350000 deaths caused by cardiovascular disease respectively; Industrial injury resulted in 360000 deaths, accounting for about 19% of the total. The report also shows that up to 750000 deaths are related to excessive working hours (55 hours or more per week).
However, the report also shows that within the time range covered by the survey, the overall number of occupational related deaths in the world shows a downward trend, which means that the safety and health situation in the workplace may be improved; But at the same time, the number of deaths caused by heart disease or stroke caused by long-time work increased instead of decreasing, increasing by 41% and 19% respectively.
The report warns that occupational related diseases and injuries put pressure on the whole social health system, reduce productivity and have a disastrous impact on household income. In addition, the report believes that the actual total number of diseases caused by work may be more, and the impact of new crown pneumonia may be included in future analysis.
Guy Ryder, director general of the International Labour Organization, said that policy makers, employers and workers should jointly take protective measures to create a healthier and safer workplace and reduce risk factors in the workplace.
Occupational disease refers to the disease caused by workers’ exposure to dust, radioactive substances or other toxic and harmful substances in occupational activities. Common occupational diseases include pneumoconiosis, occupational poisoning, etc.
In a report released in 2019, the International Labour Organization pointed out that occupational diseases originated from the lack of awareness of daily protection, accumulated over the years, and finally collapsed the health of workers. More than 370 million people worldwide were injured or sick due to work-related accidents every year. Modern working mode, global population growth, climate change and other factors are posing challenges to workplace safety. The economic losses caused by occupational safety and health problems account for 4% of the global GDP.
In the report released on the 17th, the death caused by working too long, which is often called “death from overwork”, was also included in the category of occupational diseases. In May this year, who and the International Labour Organization published a paper in the international environment, a top journal in the field of international environmental science, which studied the global loss of life and health caused by long-time work for the first time.
It is estimated that in 2016, working at least 55 hours a week resulted in 398000 deaths from stroke and 347000 deaths from heart disease. The study concluded that people who worked more than 55 hours a week had an estimated 35% higher risk of stroke and 17% higher risk of dying of ischemic heart disease than those who worked 35 to 40 hours a week.
In addition, the number of people working long hours currently accounts for 9 per cent of the global population, and this number is increasing. This trend will put more people at risk of work-related disability and premature death.
After the release of the report on the 17th, who pointed out that it was shocking that too many people died in their own work. Countries and enterprises should pay attention to improving and protecting the health and safety of workers. In order to prevent and control the injury and loss caused by occupational diseases to workers and the whole society, many countries and international organizations around the world have taken a series of measures, including strengthening legislation and providing assistance.
In July this year, the Korean government announced the implementation of the major disaster punishment law. According to the law, a total of 24 occupational diseases are regarded as major industrial injuries, most of which are caused by chemical substances, as well as acute poisoning, hypoxia and heatstroke. The law on punishment of major disasters stipulates that if the person in charge of an enterprise or institution fails to fulfill his safety and health management obligations, he may be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of more than one year or a fine of less than 1 billion won.
As the first country in the world to start the process of industrialization, British workers have suffered from occupational diseases for a long time. In 1974, Britain promulgated the occupational safety and Health Act, which describes the supervision and management of occupational safety and health from the aspects of employer’s responsibilities and powers, employee’s rights, production safety and health management system and system, scientific research framework, supervision and management, etc.
In recent years, the British government has also established an enterprise compensation scheme for occupational diseases through the implementation of “small business services” and other measures in England, so as to restrict small enterprises more effectively.
In 2019, who included “overwork” in the international classification of diseases for the first time. The new international classification of diseases will enter into force in 2022. It will provide a basis for medical service providers and insurance companies to identify, treat and underwrite “overwork” symptoms.