The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the long working hours are killing hundreds of people a year and this trend may accelerate further due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a first global study of the loss of life associated with longer working hours, the paper in the journal Environment International showed that 745,000 people died of a stroke and heart disease associated with long working hours in 2016.
This was a significant increase of 30% as last reported in the year 2000.
"Working 55 hours or more per week is a serious health hazard," said Maria Neira, director of the WHO's Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, as reported by NDTV.
She also added that it is important to take action for the protection of workers before we reach a catastrophic end. This joint study by the WHO and the International Labour Organization revealed that 72% of the victims were men and particularly middle-aged or older. In addition to this, the deaths occurred much later in life, sometimes decades later.
It was also mentioned in the study how people living in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific region, a region with countries like China, Japan and Australia were the ones that were affected the most.
The study drew data from 194 countries and claimed that working 55 hours or more a week is associated with a 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, as compared to those people who work for 35-40 hours per day.
WHO officials have also said that the surge in remote working and global shutdown, which has been a result of the coronavirus infection, may lead to an increased risk.
"The pandemic is accelerating developments that could feed the trend towards increased working time," said the WHO, estimating that at least 9% of people work long hours.
WHO technical officer Frank Pega also said that capping hours would help increase worker productivity. In an economic crisis, it is important to decrease long working hours.