OSHA reports women in construction at higher risk of injury than men

The United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently reported the number of women in construction-related positions grew significantly from 1985 to 2007. The jump translated to an increase of women workers in the field by over 80 percent. In 2010, over 800,000 women were employed in this industry. Although this results in a relatively small portion of the workforce, roughly 9 percent, women are at a disproportionately higher risk of construction injuries than their male counterparts.

Regardless of sex, all construction workers face the dangers of injury from falls, electrocution, musculoskeletal disorders and chronic health hazards resulting from exposure to materials like asbestos and hazardous wastes. In addition to these hazards, women face increased risk because safety equipment is often designed for male workers and the culture of the workplace may not be supportive to the presence of females. As a result, OSHA is teaming with the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to address health and safety issues faced specifically by women in the construction field.

Goal of Alliance between OSHA and NAWIC

According to OSHA, its partnership with NAWIC, referred to as the Alliance, is working to decrease and prevent the risk of injury through the following methods:

  • Awareness. The group will participate in forums and meetings on construction hazards. During these meetings, the group will attempt to encourage discussions focusing on new solutions. The group will also provide information on safety and health issues.
  • Education. The Alliance will also work to develop programs to educate and train both women in construction professions and their employers on the risks associated with female construction workers and potential solutions.
  • Outreach. Through the use of print, electronic media, meetings and other events, the group will communicate new preventative methods as they are developed.

OSHA believes these steps will help reduce and prevent injuries for this "subset of construction workers with unique needs." Unfortunately, even with these precautions accidents at the workplace can still happen.

Remedies available if injured while on the job

Those who are injured while on the job are likely eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits. These benefits can assist in covering the cost of hospital bills, prescriptions and other costs associated with the injury, including lost wages. In addition to workers' comp, in some cases additional compensation may be available if the injury results from the negligent act of another.

If you were injured while working, contact an experienced construction injuries attorney. This legal professional will discuss your accident and help better ensure your legal rights and potential remedies are protected.