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Behavioral health issues raise risk of workplace injury for women

Over the past several decades, the percentage of women in the paid workforce has steadily increased. With increased participation comes the risk of sustaining workplace injuries that require medical care, time off from the job to recuperate and workers' compensation benefits. A recent study points out that women who suffer depression, anxiety and fatigue are significantly more likely to sustain injuries while on the job.

The researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health's Center for Health, Work & Environment on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus found that those health factors have a significant impact on injury risks for women but did not raise the risks in male workers.

The study's lead author said, "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."

Researchers collaborated with Colorado's biggest workers' comp insurer on the study. They examined data from more than 300 businesses and more than 17,000 employees across a broad spectrum of industries.

Interestingly, the researchers determined that though men are more likely than women to sustain work-related injuries, behavioral health factors (anxiety, poor sleep, etc.) did not directly elevate their risks of injury.

About 60 percent of women who were injured on the job reported a behavioral health condition before the injuries, compared to 33 percent of men.

One possible explanation for the discrepancy comes from the study's lead author, who said, "Men generally admit to fewer health concerns. And women may face different stresses at work and at home. It's something that is worth exploring in future research."

If you have been injured at work and have been denied North Carolina workers' compensation benefits, contact an attorney experienced in workers' comp appeals.

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