Women are disproportionately impacted by certain safety issues – most notably nonfatal workplace violence, with 70 percent of all assault-related injuries involving days away from work occurring to females, according to the National Safety Council. The number of women who incurred assault-related injuries at work in 2017 totaled 12,820 — a 60 percent increase since 2011. By contrast, 5,530 men — less than half the number of women —sustained assault-related injuries at work in 2017.
Aside from assault, other work-related injuries and illnesses that disproportionately impact women include accidental injury by another person (59 percent), falls on the same level (57 percent), and ergonomic issues, such as complications from repetitive motion (61 percent).
Women working in certain sectors experience a disproportionate number of various nonfatal injuries and illnesses, too. For example, the percentages of nonfatal injuries and illnesses involving women in the following sectors are:
- Healthcare (80 percent)
- Education (61 percent)
- Management, business and financial (60 percent)
Workplace injury and illness data including assaults are available on Injury Facts, the National Safety Council’s compilation of preventable death and injury statistics for nearly 100 years. This resource provides information about injury rates and deaths among industries and specific demographics.
“Our workplaces should be safe havens for everyone, and these data show us we can do more to protect women in the workplace,” said Nick Smith, interim president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “As employers examine the biggest risks facing their workforce, we urge them to consider these trends and make sure safety is extending to all employees.”
In observation of Women’s History Month, the National Safety Council encourages workplaces to review their Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and ensure they include appropriate support resources. Employers also should examine historical safety trends involving women in the workplace so that safety measures are aptly addressed for those most vulnerable.
In addition to free active shooter training in communities across the country, the National Safety Council offers emergency preparedness training for the workplace, which includes active shooter instruction. While these extreme cases of assault are rare, an employer can help prepare workers for this kind of emergency.