A 33-year-old man who’d worked a full month with no days off plus190 hours of overtime was found dead in his apartment on April 9, and his family suspects that exhaustion from overwork is the reason.
According to a Guangzhou Daily report, the man, surnamed Liu, was working as a developmental engineer at a company called Derchun Industries in Dongguan. And he worked a lot. Liu’s most recent paycheck showed that in the time leading up to his sudden death, he’d worked a full 31 days in March, racking up 190 hours of overtime.
Liu, who neither smoked nor drank, had been dead for three days before he was discovered in his apartment, and police confirmed that it was a sudden death.
According to The Nanfang, 12-hour work days were standard for the engineer:
[…] Liu was described as a model worker at the factory and if you ever wanted to know how that is defined at Derchun Industries, this was Liu’s typical work day:
•half hour off for lunch
•have dinner for half an hour
Liu’s wife, who didn’t live with him, said that he’d considered quitting the job. A spokesperson named Wang with Derchun Industries, however, said that Liu volunteered himself to work the demanding hours “as to correspond to factory production requirements”. Wang added that Liu signed a company form every time he worked overtime stating that he was doing so voluntarily.
According to iheima, a Chinese consulting service website, China has overtaken Japan to become the country with the highest number of deaths caused by overwork, specifically in the manufacturing sector.
China Youth Daily has cited that some 600,000 people in the country die every year because of “work exhaustion”.
Last year, a 24-year-old employee at Ogilvy & Mather China’s offices in Beijing suffered from a sudden heart attack that was thought to have been brought on by overwork . Two years before, media reported that a 25-year-old PriceWaterhouseCoopers employee in Shanghai had been “worked to death“.
According to Want China Times, the rise of such cases has pushed insurance companies like CIGNA and CMC Life Insurance Co to launch policies covering sudden death.
[Image via Guangzhou Daily]