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October 2005, Vol. 128, No. 10
Occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among women
Anne B. Hoskins
Occupational fatalities and nonfatal injuries and
illnesses are not shared
between the sexes equally. Women had a lower share of injuries and illnesses than what their share of hours worked suggests. Although women represented almost half of the workforce in 2003, they experienced 8 percent of occupational fatalities and 35 percent of nonfatal injuries and illnesses. The qualitative aspects of workplace fatalities and nonfatal injuries and illnesses differed between the sexes as well. The source and nature of their work-related deaths are categorically different. This divergence between the sexes is explained partially by differences in employment by both occupation and industry.1 Men and women have different kinds of jobs, and that translates into differences in how and why they are hurt or become sick at work.
There were 5,575 fatal occupational injuries in 2003; 446 of which were incurred by women. (See table 1.) Given that women accounted for 47 percent of employed workers,2 the female share of deaths was quite low. Women were much less likely to die on the job than men (0.7 deaths per 100,000 workers for women, compared with 6.9 deaths for every 100,000 workers for men). For women, the fatality rate has been low relative to men for the past 10 years. During the 1992–2003 period, the portion of workplace fatalities that were incurred by women varied between 7 percent in 1992 and 9 percent in 1995. As the total number of workplace fatalities has fallen over the past decade, those incurred by women have declined at a similar pace.
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1 For an examination of women in the workplace, see Women in the Labor Force: A Databook, on the Internet at www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook2005.htm (visited Oct. 4, 2005).
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey. See table 9, on the Internet at www.bls.gov/cps/home.htm#annual (visited Oct. 4, 2005).
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