Community news|20/09/21

Almost 2 million work-related deaths worldwide each year

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According to the first global estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), 1.9 million people died in the workplace in 2016.

In addition to the 360,000 accidents at work, the main diseases responsible for the deaths were:

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (450,000),
  • stroke (400,000),
  • ischaemic heart disease (350,000).

Among the occupational factors, the report highlights long working hours (around 750,000 deaths) and exposure to air pollution (particles, gases and fumes), which caused 450,000 deaths. Also mentioned are asthmogens, carcinogens, ergonomic risk factors and noise.

A disproportionate number of work-related deaths occur among workers in South-East Asia and the Western Pacific, as well as among men and people over the age of 54.

The joint WHO/ILO report points out that the total burden of work-related disease is likely to be much higher. Indeed, the deterioration in health attributable to other occupational risk factors has not yet been quantified. In addition, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will need to be taken into account in future estimates.

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