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Contractors | Construction

Women construction workers face many hazards: report

November 22, 2013

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New York – Women in construction face a broad range of occupational risks ranging from reproductive hazards to violence, according to a new report from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health.

Women make up about 9 percent of the construction industry in the United States, the report states. The leading causes of death to women in construction were transportation incidents, violence and falls. Many women in construction may work as flaggers – a job that has a high death rate.

Major nonfatal injuries include overexertion, contact with equipment and falls. Although little data is available on injuries suffered by women in construction, the paper pointed to one study that suggests women have higher rates of sprains/strains than men, likely due to women being assigned more repetitive tasks that cause such injuries. Women in construction also face a variety of hazards from ill-fitting personal protective equipment that could pose health hazards (such as improperly fitting respirators) and safety hazards (such as loose clothing or gear that could become caught or cause a trip hazard).

To address some of these hazards, OSHA in August launched a webpage focusing on safety and health issues specific to women construction workers.