Women who suffer from depression, anxiety, and fatigue are more likely to be injured at work, a study has found. The study found that these health factors significantly affected women’s risk of injury but not men’s risk. “The findings of our study demonstrate that keeping workers safe requires more than your typical safety program. It requires an integrated approach that connects health, well-being, and safety,” said Natalie Schwatka, assistant professor at University of Colorado Boulder in the US. Researchers examined the insurance claims data of 314 businesses from a range of industries. Close to 17,000 employees ranging from executives to laborers were represented in the study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
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. Further research is needed to understand why there are differences in women’s and men’s risk of work-related injuries, researchers said. Overall, workers who had an injury in the past were more likely to be injured again, regardless of their gender. “There 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,” he said