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Workplace hazards faced by female workers

12 October 2022

WORKPLACES CAN be filled with all manner of hazards that pose a potential risk of injury. And some threats pose a different level of risk to women than men.

Understanding which hazards men or women are more susceptible to is crucial for taking optimal precautions and maximising employee safety. It is a vital piece in having a full and clear picture to work from when designing precautions and safety procedures. This post will look at some of the hazards and risks that most affect women. Hopefully, with this information, we can develop safer workplaces for all. 

Musculoskeletal Disorders

More than half of the injuries sustained by women in the workplace are musculoskeletal such as strains, sprains and tendonitis. For women, they constitute 52% of workplace injuries. For men, they make up a smaller portion of workplace injuries at 45%. (Based on information on USA workforce statistics published by the CDC and NIOSH)

More research is required in musculoskeletal disorders to identify the discrepancy's cause. Potential factors could include the physical differences between men and women or the difference in jobs held by men and women.

We can take preventive measures to reduce the risks of musculoskeletal injuries at work for both men and women. Introducing regular breaks throughout the day will enable employees to rest and recuperate.

Job Stress

Whilst workplace stress is a growing problem faced by all workers; it is particularly prevalent among women. Stress-related issues at work are almost half in men than in women. 

Many factors can lead to workplace stress, including:

  • Increased workload

  • Lack of control over work

  • Job insecurity

  • Workplace culture

Other potential causes of stress for women in the workplace include work and life balance and sexual harassment.

Regular well-being checks are a great way to track your employee's stress levels and highlight potential issues. Whether a quick chat or a full meeting, providing an opportunity for employees to share their experiences and feelings can help relieve stress and find causes of stress in your workplace. 

Heavy Lifting

Another workplace hazard to be wary of is heavy lifting. This is particularly common in industries such as construction. As we mentioned in the first point, there are physical differences between people, which are often present between men and women. Factoring in physical differences when allocating jobs is one way to mitigate risks of injury. Asking workers, regardless of gender, to over-exert themselves and work beyond their limits can result in injury.

Violence in the workplace

Another cause for concern is workplace violence. Workplace violence can occur between employers, customers, strangers, passersby, etc. HSE reported data from Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) in November 2020 (more recent data is skewed due to the covid-19 pandemic). The report showed an estimated 299,000 annual workplace assaults in 2019/20. Of these, 38% resulted in injury. Whilst this issue affects all employees, women appear to be at higher risk, with data on service-based workers showing women are the victim of 80% of workplace assaults.

How To Help Female Employees

Just as men do, women have unique challenges in the workplace. Some challenges and hazards affect women differently than men. We must tackle these issues to create a welcoming work environment and ensure all of our employees are happy and safe. 

Some of the ways you can address these issues and prevent the hazards that affect women include:

● Well-being Checks.

● Risk Assessments.

● Taking time to talk.

● Understanding employee limits with manual work.

In understanding the hazards that directly affect women in the workplace, we can work to prevent and mitigate them, creating a safer environment for female workers.

Article by Tagtec, Leaders in custom safety tag design and manufacturing.