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Unique Risks to Women in Construction
The labor shortage is forcing changes in the historically male construction industry as more women fill vacancies. As a result, the number of women in construction is at an all-time high of 1 million, representing 14.1% of the labor force.
As a result, these women are facing some unique risks, including safety issues. The CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) interviewed 475 tradeswomen across the U.S. to determine the unique issues pertaining to safety and health protection for an increasingly diverse construction workforce. Two of their major findings include the following:
- Women are often given personal protective equipment, clothing, and tools designed for men, which becomes a safety hazard when these items do not fit. For example, oversize gloves can easily get caught in machinery.
- Productivity comes before health and safety training in many cases, encouraging workers to skip safety meetings in order to meet important deadlines.
There’s very little gender-specific data on injuries and illness among women in the construction industry. The article cited 4,400 non-fatal occupational injuries and illness in women in construction in 1994. Collecting data by gender and paying attention to the differences and concerns can help formulate future safety policies.
Construction accidents happen every day all over Pennsylvania. However, some work-related injuries are preventable. When such an injury is caused by negligence or disregard of safety rules, you may be entitled to additional funds beyond Workers’ Compensation payments. Contact us if you would like to discuss the details of your unique situation.