Gender differences in work-related injury/illness: analysis of workers compensation claims

Am J Ind Med. 2001 Jan;39(1):84-91. doi: 10.1002/1097-0274(200101)39:1<84::aid-ajim8>;2-t.


Background: Risk of work-related injuries/illnesses among females has not been well documented. This study compares compensable work-related injuries/illnesses between females and males across all major industrial sectors and occupations using a state-managed Workers Compensation database.

Methods: Incidence rates were calculated by dividing the number of compensable injuries/illnesses among West Virginia Workers Compensation claimants by the total number of female and male workers in each specific industry class (based on SIC codes). Gender-specific denominators for occupations were estimated using 1990 U.S. Census data.

Results: The overall injury/illness rate was significantly lower in females than males (5. 5 vs. 11.5 per 100 employees), a trend that extended to all major industrial classes with the exception of service and agricultural sectors. The distribution of types of injury/illness varied by gender, occupation, and industry with significantly higher risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, burn, sprain, and fracture in females compared to males.

Conclusions: Female workers have a greater risk of specific injury/illness compared to males in various industries. Further research will be needed to understand the role of differential job-tasks within each occupation in explaining the risk difference.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Agriculture
  • Burns / epidemiology
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Databases as Topic
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Industry / classification
  • Joint Dislocations / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Sprains and Strains / epidemiology
  • West Virginia / epidemiology
  • Workers' Compensation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*