Mexicans at risk of stress and heart problems due to long working hours — expert

MEXICO CITY — Mexicans are at risk of depression and heart problems due to long working hours, health coordinator of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Rodolfo Nava has warned.

If a person works 11 hours a day, “they are twice as likely to get depression. If they work 55 hours a week, their risk of suffering a heart attack is 33 percent greater,” the academic wrote in a press release on Monday.

According to Nava, a large part of this problem is that employers in Mexico design working schedules with little oversight from authorities.

“They set the hours of entry and exit, salaries, hierarchy levels in companies and even the work responsibilities of everyone. At the same time, they halt any attempt to make improvements to this environment,” said Nava.

Furthermore, Mexico has one of the “most behind legislations…to the point that it does not recognize illnesses derived from stress at work,” he added.

According to the OECD, Mexico is the member where people work the most hours a year, at an average of 2,246 hours.

Most developed economies limit work weeks to 40 hours or less, but Mexico has set this at 48, without counting overtime, explained Nava, adding this could generate physical, psychological and social inclusion issues, since being overworked negatively impacts family and inter-personal ties.

“The paradox is that our country consistently registers the lowest productivity levels in the OECD, while the Germans have the highest,” wrote the academic.

“Whenever we try to bring order to these matters, there is opposition from entrepreneurs. For example, a new list of workplace diseases was elaborated five years ago but it never saw the light due to pressure from business owners,” he added. PNA/