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WOMEN'S SAFETY AND HEALTH ISSUES AT WORK

five women standing side by side

Job Area: Construction

In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 164,000 women were working in construction. NIOSH and its partners have done many studies to improve construction safety and health problems. Women working in construction may be concerned with musculoskeletal disorders, loud noise and hearing loss, fumes, and job stress.

NIOSH Publications

Providing Safety and Health Protection for a Diverse Construction Workforce: Issues and Ideas
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 99-140 (1999)

Related Resources

Development of sizing structure for fall arrest harness design
The study of improving a fall-arrest harness suggested a more upward back D-ring location for women than current unisex designs to accommodate women?s torso form and address their fit problem. Results also suggested an improved system of three sizes for women and three for men.

Stressors and adverse outcomes for female construction workers
This study looked at how job stressors, such as sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination, can affect female construction workers job satisfaction and psychological and physical health. The study found having responsibility for others' safety and having support from supervisors and male coworkers were related to greater job satisfaction. The study also found perceptions of overcompensation at work and job uncertainty were associated with insomnia. Sexual harassment and gender discrimination were found to be related to reports of increased nausea and headaches.

Tradeswomen's perspectives on occupational health and safety: a qualitative investigation.
The major health and safety concerns of women employed in the construction trades are discussed. Researchers found the major concerns were: exposure to chemical and physical agents; injuries from lifting, bending, twisting, falling and being cut; lack of proper education and training; and health and safety risks related specifically to tradeswomen (inadequate protective clothing and tools, etc.).

Women in construction: occupational health and working conditions
This paper reviews the medical literature on safety and health hazards for women working in the construction industry. Women have a different pattern of fatal injuries and some nonfatal injuries than men. Women also report unique problems and concerns related to working in this industry.

Women working in construction: risks and rewards
While both men and women working in construction face many of the same risks, there are some unique issues that are of greater concern to women. Tradeswomen are more likely than their male counterparts to die in job-related motor vehicle accidents or from job-related homicide and less likely to die from falls. Of women killed by motor vehicles, 30% worked as "flaggers."

 
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