On Sept. 17, the World Health Organization (WHO), in conjunction with the International Labor Organization (ILO) released a report detailing that nearly two million lives are lost each year due to work-related injuries and illnesses.
The Who/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury, 2000-2016: Global Monitoring Report shows that the majority of worker deaths were health-related, linked to either cardiovascular or respiratory diseases, while 19 percent of deaths — about 360,000 — occurred due to workplace injuries.
“It’s shocking to see so many people literally being killed by their jobs,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press release. “Our report is a wake-up call to countries and businesses to improve and protect the health and safety of workers by honoring their commitments to provide universal coverage of occupational health and safety services.”
Largest risk factors
The organizations studied 19 workplace risk factors, including long working hours, exposure to air and noise pollution, and ergonomics.
The biggest risk factor was shown to be working long hours, causing an estimated 750,000 deaths. Additionally, exposure to airborne hazards such as chemicals, particulate matter, or gases related back to an estimated 450,000 deaths.
“These estimates provide important information on the work-related burden of disease,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said in the release, “and this information can help to shape policies and practices to create healthier and safer workplaces.”
“Governments, employers, and workers can all take actions to reduce exposure to risk factors at the workplace. Risk factors can also be reduced or eliminated through changes in work patterns and systems. As a last resort, personal protective equipment can also help to protect workers whose jobs mean they cannot avoid exposure.”
Long working hours
According to the WHO, about nine percent of workers currently work at least 55 hours per week.
The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to this growing trend of longer hours, as the boundaries between work and home become blurred over the past two years. Working too much has the possibility of creating many dangers, including: Alcoholism, extreme fatigue, poor work-life balance, depression, and chronic pain. As the report suggests, in many cases, people also worked themselves to death.
Tired workers also create dangerous working environments for all team members working within the same confines as them.
How to combat workplace illness and injury
When it comes to extended working hours, the best way to keep your team healthy and safe on the job is by setting limits and break structures. Aim to plan schedules and shifts so that workers do not surpass 55 hours or more of work time each week.
Additionally, for airborne toxins, OSHA requires respirator fit testing and medical clearances at least once per year, as well as medical surveillance testing that includes workplace physical exams and blood work at no cost to employees. Each toxin includes its own set of medical surveillance testing standards – see the full list here. These medical evaluations are designed to detect early signs of cardiovascular disease, as well as any respiratory issues before they become dangerous to the employee.
But testing isn’t always easy to schedule. If your team works in shifts, you might not have clinic hours that fit your scheduling needs. Additionally, there’s plenty of risk involved with sending your team off-site for testing. With Worksite Medical, you’ll eliminate that risk and get testing when you need it.
We do this with onsite medical surveillance testing, meaning that we bring the entire clinic right to your job location in a way that won’t disrupt productivity. That way, you can ensure that your team gets all of the testing it needs, and that you can continue to get the job done. To schedule your mobile medical evaluations, or to get your free quote, just complete the form below, call us at 1-844-OCCUMED, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get convenience, compliant occupational medicine with Worksite Medical, and stay ahead of OSHA.
About Worksite Medical
In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.
Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.
We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests, and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.
With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.
Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.
Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote!