Symposium Focuses on Women's Workplace Injuries

By Jill Singer, Esq.

More than 100 legislators, regulators, labor leaders, workplace safety advocates and injured workers' attorneys gathered recently in Sacramento to learn more about the causes of women's on-the job injuries.

The event, "Working Women's Injuries Symposium: Causes, Consequences and Prevention," was presented by the California Applicants' Attorneys Association and the Women's Legislative Caucus. I am proud to have helped organize and promote the symposium. My colleague, attorney Amy Leung, also participated in the event.   

Woman with carpal tunnel injury at work.

The symposium focused on the fact that women are injured on the job more frequently than men as they age, and safety standards create a bias against women.

Things definitely need to change. Consider these statistics provided by various speakers and panelists: 

  • Out of all claims of injury filed in the Workers' Compensation system, 43 percent are filed by women, 43 percent of injuries occur within the first three years of work, and the highest number of injuries are filed by women in the 45- to 54-year-old age bracket.
  • Women have a 50 percent greater risk of slip and fall injuries.
  • Seventy-five percent of all carpal tunnel injury claims are filed by women, and women have a 60 percent increased risk for wrist and hand injuries.
  • Sixty-four percent of all mental stress claims are filed by women. 
  • Twenty-eight percent of farmworkers are female; 35 to 50 percent of them will experience sexual harassment at some time in their work life. 
  • In 2012, workplace violence became the second highest cause of women's on-the-job fatalities and that women are also sexually harassed by a greater degree than men, resulting in depression, anxiety, and other forms of psychiatric injury.  Yet, more than 70 percent of U.S. employers had no formal policy to deal with workplace violence.

Among the many concerns expressed were safety issues for women working in traditionally male-dominated jobs, such as construction and trucking industries, including women's use of such things as safety harnesses and gloves that are manufactured for men.

As advocates for women injured at work, we at Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP understand how injuries impact their lives and the lives of their families on a daily basis.  Our hope is that by more fully understanding the cause and effect of women's workplace injuries, we can develop solutions.


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