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Depression, fatigue increase women's risk of work-related injuries: Study

Men more likely to sustain injury but behavioural health factors did not affect their risk
| www.cos-mag.com

Women who suffer from depression, anxiety and fatigue are more likely to be injured at work, found a new study. These health factors significantly affected women's risk of injury but not men's risk.

Researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health's Center for Health, Work & Environment collaborated with Colorado's largest workers' compensation insurer, Pinnacol Assurance, to examine the claims data of 314 businesses from a range of industries. Close to 17,000 employees ranging from executives to labourers were represented in the study. The researchers found that men were more likely to sustain a work-related injury but behavioural health factors, like poor sleep and anxiety, did not directly affect their risk of injury. Women were more likely to report experiencing mental and behavioural health issues and these conditions increased their risk of getting hurt on the job.

Almost 60 per cent of women with a work injury reported experiencing a behavioural health condition before they were injured, compared to 33 per cent of men.

Natalie Schwatka, the study's lead author, cautions that further research is needed to understand why there are differences in women's and men's risk of work-related injuries. Overall, workers who had an injury in the past were more likely to be injured again, regardless of their gender.

"There are a number of social and cultural factors that may explain why women reported having more behavioural health concerns than men did. Men generally admit to fewer health concerns," said Schwatka. "And women may face different stresses at work and at home. It's something that is worth exploring in future research."

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