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.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.