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Workplace Safety For Women

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The proportion of women in the US workforce is as high as it has ever been and is now equals the number of men. Not only are more women working, but they also have an increased choice of jobs, including those traditionally done by men, such as construction and law enforcement.

These changes have not been without negative consequences: With more opportunity for jobs comes more opportunity for injury. However, attention to the injuries sustained by women in the workplace has lagged behind attention given to other groups.

This is a critical social issue. A recent Pew Research Center showed that 40 percent of households that have children under age 18 are headed by a woman as the only or primary earner. When this woman is injured and unable to work, the entire family suffers.

Women face different challenges at work for a variety of reasons, some of which contribute to the frequency and type of injuries they sustain on the job. They are more likely to be injured as they age, unlike men. They are more likely to suffer repetitive stress injuries than men. They are more often the victims of workplace violence than men. They are less likely to demand - and their employers less likely to provide - safety equipment and training. They are more likely to be harassed on the job, resulting in depression, anxiety and other mental and emotional injuries.

Many of these injuries could be prevented, keeping women's families more secure because they can continue to work. Employers need to pay attention to the safety of all their employees and take the necessary steps to prevent on-the-job injuries such as those above.

Source: Monterey Herald, "Women's on the job injuries," Feb. 13, 2014.

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