It’s not your imagination. Your job may be killing you. A new report from the United Nations says stress from work, excessive hours and occupational diseases (chronic ailments resulting from work) are responsible for nearly 2.8 million deaths worldwide every year.
The way we work today may be the culprit. Increased digital connectivity, for example, has made work days longer as employees are expected to remain on the clock long after they leave the building.
“The world of work has changed, we’re working differently, we’re working longer hours, we’re using more technology,” Manal Azzi of the U.N.’s labor agency, the International Labor Organization, told CBS.
According to the report, 36.1 percent of the world’s workforce now works “excessive hours,” which was defined as working more than 48 hours per week. Women may be most at risk because they tend to work a second shift as the primary caregivers for families, resulting in little time to rest or exercise.
“Not only do you work when you’re at your office but then you’re working at home as well,” said Azzi, as CBS noted, “so it’s a lot of sedentary work and that affects cardiovascular diseases as well.”
Some countries are also more dangerous for workers than others. About two-thirds of work-related mortality is estimated to occur in Asia, the report says. The greatest causes of mortality are circulatory diseases (31 percent), work-related cancers (26 percent) and respiratory diseases (17 percent), according to the report.