Hazards are everywhere in the workplace. It is important to keep an eye out for anything that could cause a risk of injury to our fellow workers. As men and women, our bodies are built differently, and some hazards are more dangerous for women than men.
Knowing which hazards men or women are more susceptible to is essential when designing precautions for particular hazards. Whether you’re looking to overhaul your safety features or completely overhaul your health and safety procedures, this information can give you a much clearer picture of what needs to be done.
This post will explore why some things may be more hazardous to women. We will find out what those things are and how you may be able to avoid these things becoming dangerous in the workplace in the future.
1. Musculoskeletal Disorders
Workplace injuries like sprains & strains, tendonitis and other musculoskeletal conditions account for over half of injuries suffered by women at work. When comparing musculoskeletal disorder numbers in women to men, they account for around 10% more of women's workplace injuries than they do for men (52% in women to 45% in men).
More research is needed into the topic of musculoskeletal disorders and what puts women more at risk of developing these issues at work. Many factors could contribute to these results, such as clear physical differences between men and women or differences in the individual jobs that these men and women hold.
As we don’t yet have a clear answer as to why this may be happening, it is best to take precautionary measures to avoid it. Allowing all staff to take regular breaks can help to keep them safe from musculoskeletal disorders. This protects them by allowing them to recuperate at regular intervals throughout the day while also ensuring they maintain job performance.
2. Job Stress
Stress in the workplace is a growing issue for all workers, including women. In a survey conducted, approximately 60% of women named workplace stress the number one issue they faced at work. It is also important to point out that stress-related problems at work in women are almost double that of stress-related issues in men.
Many common work-related issues can cause stress in the workplace. Increasing workload demands, lack of control over work, job insecurities, and workplace culture (among others) pose a severe risk of causing huge amounts of stress for women and men.
Other factors like sexual harassment and work and family balance issues may also be major causes for women in the workplace, as they become increasingly prominent today.
A great way to tackle stress in the workplace among your workforce is to carry out regular well-being checks with all of your staff. This could be anything from a quick chat to a full meeting. You want to make sure that your workers know they can talk to you about sensitive things that may be causing them stress at work, and this is an excellent way to do this.
By hosting wellbeing chats with your female workers, you build and maintain a strong foundation of trust. You give them an outlet to vent or get any stressful situations affecting them. By doing this, we could reduce stress levels significantly for some workers.
3. Heavy lifting
One of the main hazards in a construction working environment is when a lot of heavy lifting is involved. As mentioned in point 1 of this article, men and women are built differently. When allocating jobs to your workers, it is important to bear this in mind.
As our bodies are built differently, it can be important to know the limits of your workers and make sure not to ask them to overexert themselves by lifting a weight too heavy for them.
It is assumed that there are specific regulations around manual lifting for women in the workplace, but this is not the case. For this reason, it is the employer's responsibility to know their employee's limits and not exceed them, risking severe injuries to workers in the process.
4. Violence in the workplace
One that may come as a shock to many of you is that of all violence that occurs in the workplace (whether between employees or from clients/customers). Approximately 70% of this violence is directed toward women.
Female workers are at risk of assault in the workplace, with 4 out of 5 attacks on service-based employees being against women. It is important to keep employee welfare as an absolute top priority when analysing hazards to female workers.
With the numbers being so high for female workers being attacked, it is definitely an area that employers must work to address. Keeping a close eye on female workers in customer-facing roles is important to ensure they are not left alone should an aggrieved client come into the workplace.
Violence is an area that is difficult to determine, with it being down to such an individual level in the cases. You can’t determine when violence will break out or in what specific situation, but taking a wide range of precautionary measures in case this happens is the best way to tackle it head-on.
How to help female employees
Female employees may have specific safety needs when at work, just like men do. The specific hazards that women face in the workplace must be addressed to make your female employees feel safer and, as a result of this, happier when at work.
There are many ways that you can help your female employees by taking action against a wide range of hazards. These preventative methods include:
● Wellbeing Checks.
● Risk Assessments.
● Taking time to talk.
● Understanding employee limits with manual work.
By understanding the problems that your female employees face, you better understand how you can help them by removing these hazards or by reducing the risk that they pose.
If you have any questions on how you can help female workers in a manual workplace, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We are more than happy to answer any questions you have and help you to make your workplace a safer and happier place for your workers!