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August 20, 2015

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Stroke risk associated with long working hours

office-594132_1280Working long hours may lead to an increase in the risk of stroke, a study has found.

The findings were published in The Lancet, which showed the chances of having a stoke increased in those working beyond the usual 9-5 working day.

The research showed that there was a greater risk of stroke and coronary heart disease for people who work 55 hours or more per week, compared with working a standard 35 to 40 hour week.

The study also found that the more hours people worked, the more the risk of stroke increased. For example, compared with people who worked standard hours, those working between 41 and 48 hours had a 10 per cent higher risk of stroke, and those working 49 to 54 hours had a 27 per cent increased risk of stroke.

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director, British Heart Foundation, said: “This research shows an association between long working hours and an increased risk of having a stroke and heart disease. It is plausible that there could be a causal relationship behind the link as sudden death following long working hours is often caused by stroke, due to long and repeated periods of stress, although that was not demonstrated in this study.

“More research is needed if we are to understand and treat the biological processes that can lead to increased risk of stroke and heart disease for people who work long hours.

“This study highlights to doctors that they need to pay particular attention to cardiovascular risk factors when they advise people who work long hours.”

Sleep and Fatigue: Director’s Briefing

Fatigue is common amongst the population, but particularly among those working abnormal hours, and can arise from excessive working time or poorly designed shift patterns. It is also related to workload, in that workers are more easily fatigued if their work is machine-paced, complex or monotonous.

This free director’s briefing contains:

  • Key points;
  • Recommendations for employers;
  • Case law;
  • Legal duties.
Barbour EHS

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Len Hutton
Len Hutton
5 years ago

You need to look at Oil and Gas workers on rotation of 6weeks and two weeks working 6 days a week for 12 hours per day.
Two of my colleagues were medivacked from Kazakhstan last years plus some unexplained sudden deaths.

Michael Spanczak
Michael Spanczak
5 years ago

Pardon my confusion but this is news… why? The Japanese have been aware of this for quite some time and according to an Economist article from December 2007 overwork was legally recognised as a cause of death (through strokes and heart attacks) in the 1980’s. The Japanese have coined the term “Karoshi” (or death through over work) to cover work related deaths resulting from long working hours. “More research is needed if we are to understand and treat the biological processes that can lead to increased risk of stroke and heart disease for people who work long hours.” Clearly the… Read more »