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IMage: Mary Schrider

 

Features

Women reps
Unions work best when they represent everyone in the workplace. And they are at their most effective when grassroots union safety reps reflect the make-up of that workforce - and that means more women safety reps at work.
Hazards women reps pagesPoster

Women’s work Too many assumptions about the nature of ‘women’s work’ combined with too little attention to the real risks means the hazards of women’s jobs may be far less likely to get resolved.
Hazards 101, January-March 2008 [pdf] • See the full TUC Checklist

Work's worse for women US government research shows women are at greater risk from many workplace hazards, and examines evidence on "working women and stress" and "women in construction". Another study shows women facing high work demands, low control and low social support are at the greatest risk of ill-health.
Hazards 71 July-September 2000 [pdf]• Also: Providing health and safety protection for a diverse construction workforce: Issues and ideas, NIOSH

Women hurt at work Ever see a sign saying "Danger! Women at work"? Ever wonder why not? Well, it is not because women do not do the 3D - dirty, difficult and dangerous - jobs. Infact for many modern work hazards it is often women facing more of the risk. Hazards guide and resources on a "gender sensitive" health and safety approach.
Hazards 67, July-September 1999 [pdf] or html version

Women under strain
Men do heavy, dangerous work, women do light, safe work - so it's men that are at risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Nothing could be further from the truth. more

 

Resources

WHO gender and occupational health webpages

Women primary victims of safety negligence at work Although invisible in official statistics on work-related accidents and illnesses, women are more likely to be victims of poor safety standards at work, says the Brussels-based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).
ICFTU OnlineICFTU Online: Health and safety - women pay dearly

Older women's health and safety ignored A new TUC report says the health and safety of twelve million women is being ignored. The Health and Work of Older Women: a neglected issue, says that older women work longer hours than younger women, have lower status jobs and have a higher chance of developing bad backs and broken bones. It sets out an agenda for action by government, employers, unions and researchers. News release

TUC resources on women's health and safety List of TUC resources referring to women's occupational health and safety TUC safety webpages

TUC resources on gender and occupational safety and health TUC has reconvened its Women’s Health and Safety Working Group. The Group is focusing on a gender-sensitive approach to occupational health and safety and ensuring equal rights to protection for all workers. TUC GOSH page

Women, work and health Gender sensitive health and safety - a February 2001 report of a TUC symposium on research into women's health and safety. TUC safety webpages

A woman's work is never safe This TUC report highlights some of the occupational hazards unique to women due to physiological and social differences between the sexes, and the way that women's concentration in certain occupations leads to some health and safety hazards having a much greater impact on women. TUC safety webpages

Women's health and safety: putting back strain on the map The TUC wants to see women workers use their own experiences to demand better standards of health and safety from their employers. Women's jobs can be just as back-breaking as men's, and this report demonstrates that we have only just begun to address this huge health problem. TUC safety webpages

UNISON women's health and safety guidance This guide for health and safety representatives from UK public service union UNISON should be used to ensure that employers consider women staff when developing any health and safety initiatives, such as carrying out risk assessments, planning new systems of work or introducing work equipment or personal protective equipment. It can also be used to start raising awareness of women's health and safety concerns among members.
UNISON guide [pdf]Women at work [pdf]

European trade union website The European Trade Union Confederation's safety research arm, HESA, has pulled together detailed resources and news on women's health and safety
HESA women's health and safety webpages

ITF Women's campaign An International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) women's campaign includes a call for for measures to address safety problems and bullying at work. Campaign page

NIOSH women's safety and health at work webpages As the only US federal agency mandated to conduct research to prevent injuries and illnesses in the workplace, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has an expanding research program to address the occupational safety and health needs of working women. These pages contain information on working women, the hazards they may face, and NIOSH research in areas of particular concern to women.
NIOSH women's health and safety webpagesNIOSH women's health and safety at work factsheet

Occupational safety gender gap
Ellen Rosskam explains how an occupational safety, health and environment (OSHE) training programme is helping women find ways to expand personal possibilities and develop creative health promotion strategies for trade unions and communities.
Women work to close the "occupational safety gender gap"

Women and men do different jobs, so face different risk factors for work-related mental illness A study in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health identified several occupational risk indicators for poor mental health among women, especially sub-clinical depression and high alcohol consumption. Occupational factors such as shift work, job strain, no education at the employer's expense, low occupational pride, low stimulation at work and poor social support were related to poor mental health among women.
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Volume 75, Number 4, May 2002

 

News

Britain: Affected by pregnancy discrimination?
As part of a wider project on discrimination against pregnant women and women on maternity leave, the TUC is keen to hear from women who have been treated unfavourably while pregnant, on maternity leave, or on return to work. A TUC survey, which is entirely anonymous, covers employment and health and safety issues including if you were “made to do work that was difficult or hazardous because of your pregnancy”.  
TUC briefing and online surveyRisks 65417 May 2014

USA: Walmart cagey on pregnant workers concessions
Walmart has improved its workplace pregnancy policies – but is saying the move has nothing to do a series of legal challenges. OUR Walmart, the union-backed group pressing for better working conditions at the US multinational, and a number of legal groups take a different view.
Washington PostBusinessweekOrganisation United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) facebook pageUFCW blogRisks 65012 April 2014

Norway: Landmark win on mercury at work
Health workers exposed to mercury were harmed and should be compensated, Norway’s top court has ruled. Former dental nurse Bertha Regine Serigstad took the union-backed case against her government employer all the way to Norway’s Supreme Court.
PSI news reportRisks 63818 January 2013

Britain: Call for ‘zero tolerance’ of sexual harassment
Employers must adopt a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment, the TUC has said. The union body was speaking out after research published by employment law firm Slater & Gordon found that six in ten working women have had a male colleague behave ‘inappropriately’ towards them.
TUC news releaseSlater & Gordon news releaseRisks 62826 October 2013

Germany: Workplace health ‘gender gap’ exposed
A ‘gender gap’ in health and safety at work has been identified in Germany. The initial analysis of a 2012 survey found women more often than men suffer a wide range of work-related complaints. The survey was conducted by the Federal Institute for Vocational Training (BIBB) in cooperation with the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA).
ETUI news reportTUC women and health and safety webpagesRisks 6292 November 2013

USA: Chemical exposure at work poses worst pregnancy risk
The evidence that exposure to chemicals in pregnancy leads to adverse reproductive and developmental health outcomes is “sufficiently robust,” medical experts have warned, with the risks highest for those exposed at work. A report from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) urges doctors to push for stricter policies to better identify and reduce exposure to chemicals that prove truly risky.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists committee opinion, number 575, October 2013 • Risks 62428 September 2013

Britain: Top pregnancy docs say safety first with chemicals
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has concluded pregnant women may want to “play it safe” and avoid chemicals found in many common industrial and household products. RCOG says its paper on the issue is informing women and filling a void - until now, there has been no official advice for pregnant and breastfeeding women to turn to.
RCOG news release and full report, Chemical exposures during pregnancy: Dealing with potential, but unproven, risks to child health, RCOG, June 2013. BBC News OnlineRisks 6088 June 2013

Britain: Night shift linked to ovarian cancer
Working night shifts may increase the risk of ovarian cancer, research suggests. A study of more than 3,000 women found that working nights increased the risk of early-stage cancer by 49 per cent compared with doing normal office hours.
Parveen Bhatti and others. Nightshift work and risk of ovarian cancer, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 50, pages 231-237, 2013 [abstract] • BBC News OnlineRisks 59823 March 2013

Global: ‘Toxic soup’ of chemicals causes breast cancer
Working in a “toxic soup” of chemicals can double a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, new research suggests. High risk jobs include those in agriculture, plastics, food packaging, metal manufacture and the bar and gambling industry, according to the University of Stirling study.
Brophy JT, Keith MM, Watterson A and others. Breast cancer risk in relation to occupations with exposure to carcinogens and endocrine disruptors: a Canadian case-control study, Environmental Health, 11:87, 19 November 2012. Stirling University news releaseCenter for Public Integrity articleBBC News OnlineHuffington PostFox NewsDaily MailManufacturing WeeklyRisks 58324 November 2012

Britain: Women’s health and safety is neglected
Health and safety issues affecting women are either ignored, under-researched or unrecognised, problems that must be addressed by unions, Unite has said. According to the union, which has just published online its negotiators’ guide to raising the issue: “Working women’s health and safety at work is a major priority for Unite.”
Women’s health, safety and well-being at work: Negotiators’ guideRisks 5766 October 2012

Britain: Women’s work gets more insecure
Falling numbers of women in full-time work and a rise in their self-employment and involuntary part-time and temporary employment has left women increasingly insecure at work, a TUC economic report reveals. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Replacing full-time jobs with low-paid, insecure work will drive down wages and keep this country mired in recession.”
TUC news release and Economic report: Women and workHazards insecure work webpagesRisks 57422 September 2012

Global: Work can be damaging in late pregnancy
Working after eight months of pregnancy could be bad for your baby, according to a new study. Women who worked after they were eight months pregnant had babies on average around 230g (0.5lb) lighter than those who stopped work between six and eight months according to the study, published in the July edition of the Journal of Labor Economics.
Emilia Del Bono, John Ermisch, and Marco Francesconi. Intrafamily resource allocations: A dynamic structural model of birth weight, Vol. 30, No. 3, pages 657-706, July 2012 • Medical DailyCBC NewsThe GuardianScottish Daily RecordMarie ClaireRisks 567 4 August 2012

Global: Standing at work is bad for a pregnancy
Standing for long periods at work while pregnant may curb the growth of the developing fetus, new research indicates. Dutch researchers, who published their findings online in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found women who spent long periods on their feet during their pregnancy, in jobs such as sales, childcare, and teaching, had babies whose heads were an average of 1 cm (3 per cent) smaller than average at birth, implying a slower growth rate, and those who worked more than 40 hours a week had smaller babies than those who worked under 25 hours a week.
Claudia A Snijder, Teus Brand, Vincent Jaddoe, Albert Hofman, Johan P Mackenbach, Eric AP Steegers and Alex Burdorf. Physically demanding work, fetal growth and the risk of adverse birth outcomes. The Generation R Study, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 27 June 2012, Online First doi 10.1136/oemed-2011-100615. TUC working feet and footwear guide [pdf] • More on the occupational hazards of standingRisks 56230 June 2012

Britain: Why the media must protect its staff
Media organisations must ensure women journalists are safe in their work, unions have said. A motion from the journalists’ union NUJ was passed unanimously last week at the TUC women’s conference.
NUJ news release TUC Women’s conference 2012Risks 54824 March 2012

Global: Women journalists in danger zones
The challenges faced by women journalists working in conflict and danger zones around the world have been highlighted in a new book. The International News Safety Institute’s (INSI) 'No Woman's Land: On the Frontlines with Female Reporters' describes the risks, challenges and the emotional and physical impact of danger on newswomen around the globe.
INSI news release and video of the related panel debateRisks 54717 March 2012

Britain: Women worried about work journey
One in seven women has safety concerns about the journey to and from work, a survey by the retail union Usdaw has found. 'What's happening on your journey to work?', the report of Usdaw’s survey, says the union found women members are also twice as likely as men to feel unsafe on their journeys to and from work.
Usdaw news release, campaign materials and full What's happening on your journey to work? report • Risks 54717 March 2012

Britain: Women still treated unfairly on site
Half of women working on building sites believe they are treated unfairly at work because of their gender, a survey by the construction union UCATT has found. However, safety was one area where conditions for women construction workers appeared to be improving, the survey found. More than 7 in 10 respondents (71 per cent) reported that sufficient attention is given to health safety and welfare facilities.
UCATT news releaseRisks 54717 March 2012

USA: Miscarriages in nurses linked to work exposures
Nurses who worked with chemotherapy drugs or sterilising chemicals were twice as likely to have a miscarriage as their colleagues who didn't handle these materials, a US study has found. Nurses who gave patients x-rays had a slightly elevated risk of miscarriage too, about 30 per cent higher than nurses who didn't work with x-rays; and nurses who handled sterilising agents, such as ethylene oxide or formaldehyde, more than an hour a day also had a doubled risk of miscarriage, but only during the second trimester. Christina C Lawson and others. Occupational exposures among nurses and risk of spontaneous abortion, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, published online ahead of print, 30 December 2011 • MedlinePlus •  Mother Nature NetworkRisks 54028 January 2011

Britain: Bid to get more women safety reps
Safety enforcers have joined with unions to encourage more women to become workplace health and safety reps. ‘Help make your workplace safer’, a leaflet published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and backed by rail safety regulator ORR, the TUC and individual unions, notes: “European research suggests that women are under-represented in the health and safety decision-making process. In particular, more women are needed to be safety representatives.”
Help make your workplace safer leaflet [pdf] • TUC safety reps webpages. HSE worker involvement and HSE health and safety representatives webpagesRisks 51018 June 2011

USA: Union protection against sex assaults
A hotel worker who spoke out after an alleged serious sexual assault by former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn  may have been able to do so because she was protected by union membership. The 32-year-old housekeeper, originally from Guinea, was employed at New York’s Sofitel Hotel, where staff are represented by the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council.
New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council editorialIn These TimesAlternetIPS NewsNew York TimesRisks 5084 June 2011

Britain: BA stops pay of pregnant cabin crew
British Airways (BA) is throwing safety and equality law out the window by denying pay to some pregnant cabin crew who can no longer perform their normal duties, the union Unite has indicated. The union says cabin crew members who are pregnant and live too far from Heathrow or Gatwick to travel there to perform ground duties, “will now be forced to take unpaid leave by the airline.” 
Unite news releaseRisks 49819 March 2011

Britain: Call for firms to support menopausal women
The menopause is an important occupational health issue, the TUC has said, and is calling on employers to provide more support at work. The union body has published new guidance on how employers and union reps can work together to support women through the menopause at work.
TUC news release and Supporting women through the menopause report [pdf] • BOHRF report [pdf] and guide for managers [pdf] • Personnel TodayRisks 49712 March 2011 

USA: Firefighter wins breast cancer payout
A Las Vegas firefighter has been told by the Nevada Supreme Court she is entitled to workers' compensation benefits under the presumption that she developed breast cancer through exposure to carcinogens at work.
City of Las Vegas v Robin Lawson, Nevada Supreme Court [pdf] • Courthouse News ServiceAllgov.comRisks 48915 January 2011

Britain: Women and health and safety seminar, 3 February
A TUC seminar on the topic of ‘women and health and safety’ will take place at its London HQ on Thursday 3 February 2011. The half day event is aimed at union officers and workplace reps with responsibility for health and safety, equality and women’s rights in the workplace, or any union researchers or officers with an interest in gender and occupational health.
Women and health and safety seminar, TUC, Congress House, 3 February 2011. To express an interest in attending or to get further details, email TUCRisks 48915 January 2011

Britain: RAF flew in the face of pregnancy law
The Royal Air Force (RAF) ignored its risk assessment duties and created an “offensive environment” for an officer who was denied the right to stay in her job when she became pregnant.  A tribunal found she had faced discrimination and its recommendations included calling on the Ministry of Defence to carry out an individual risk assessment for each pregnant woman and to consider adjusting her role to enable her to remain in her post.
EHRC news releaseLeigh Day and Co news releaseRisks 46012 June 2010

Britain: Young women 'face work stress risk'
Stress at work can greatly raise the risk of heart disease for women under 50, a study of more than 12,000 nurses suggests. The study, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, concludes work pressure has a greater effect on young women than those in their 50s and 60s.
Yrsa Andersen Hundrup and others. Psychosocial work environment and risk of ischaemic heart disease in women: the Danish Nurse Cohort Study, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 67, pages 318-322, 2010 [pdf] • BBC News OnlineRisks 4458 May 2010

Britain: Breast cancer link to shiftwork confirmed
Nearly 2,000 women contract breast cancer every year in the UK because they work night shifts, according to a new report. The figure, published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), is based on 2005 data and attributes 1,969 new cases of breast cancer and 555 deaths from the disease that year to shiftwork.
The HeraldThe burden of occupational cancer in Great Britain, research report 800, HSE, 2010 [pdf] • While you were sleeping, Hazards magazine, number 106, Summer 2000 • Risks 4458 May 2010

USA: Jobs not gender cause work’s pain
A study of workers at 50 hotels in the United States has found that women are 50 per cent more likely to be injured than men, and that Hispanic women have an injury rate two-thirds higher than their white female counterparts. The study, which will be published in January 2010 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, said the injury rate was higher for female hotel employees because they worked disproportionately as housekeepers, which is the hotel job most likely to lead to injury.
APHA abstract • New York Times • Risks 432 •  14 November 2009

Britain: Trip led to back problems for pregnant mum
A pregnant civil servant who tripped at work and damaged her back has received £9,000 in compensation. PCS member Andrea Swales, 39, was almost five months pregnant when she tripped on a loose carpet tile at HM Revenue and Customs offices in Peterlee in July 2006.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 42312 September 2009

Global: Work stress increases caesarean births
Women who stop working at least a month before their baby is due are four times less likely to have a caesarean delivery because they are less tired and anxious, research has found.
Sylvia Guendelman and others. Maternity leave in the ninth month of pregnancy and birth outcomes among working women, Women’s Health Issues, volume 19, issue 1, Pages 30-37, January 2009 [abstract]
Sylvia Guendelman and others. Juggling work and breastfeeding: Effects of maternity leave and occupational characteristics, Pediatrics, volume 123: pages e38-e46, January 2009 [abstract] Sydney Morning HeraldRisks 38917 January 2009

Global: Women and work hazards
A number of organisations have created new or dusted off their old materials on women and work hazards.
HSE mothers at work webpagesEuropean Agency gender issues in health and safety at work webpagesBWI women and work hazards webpagesTUC women’s health and safety webpagesHazards at Work women’s chapter and Hazards women and work hazards webpagesRisks 347 • 15 March 2008

Britain: TUC wants a healthy approach to gender
The TUC is asking safety reps to make sure their workplaces have a gender sensitive approach to health and safety management. TUC’s Gender and Occupational Safety and Health (G&OSH) working party has produced a checklist to help assess workplace health and safety policies and practices.
TUC summary document and checklist [also available as a pdf] • TUC women’s health and safety webpagesHazards women and work hazards webpagesRisks 33919 January 2008

Afghanistan: Women workers face deadly risks
Women working in four wool and fur factories in Afghanistan as dying as a result of the harsh, dusty work. Over 1,500 women work in the factories in Herat city, where they separate fur from goats’ hair and weave sheep’s wool without protective gloves or masks.
IRIN news Risks 3303 November 2007

Global: Mum’s job can affect the fetus
Workplace exposures in pregnancy can affect the health of the fetus with workers in blue collar jobs at greatest risk, researchers have found. The authors say the evidence suggests workplace exposures may have negative effects on fetal development, but add more research needs to be conducted on the reasons why the risk is elevated in particular occupations.
Parvez Ahmed and Jouni JK Jaakkola. Maternal occupation and adverse pregnancy outcomes: a Finnish population-based study, Occupational Medicine, volume 57, Number 6, pages 417-423, 2007 [abstract] • OHS reps, issue 123, 13 September 2007 Risks 324 22 September 2007

Saudi Arabia: Migrant domestics killed by employers
The killing of two Indonesian domestic workers by their employers in Saudi Arabia highlights the Saudi government’s ongoing failure to hold employers accountable for serious abuses, campaign group Human Rights Watch has said. The brutal beatings by these employers also left two other Indonesian domestic workers critically injured.
Human Rights Watch news releaseRisks 32025 August 2007

USA: New Solutions special issue
The new issue of New Solutions, a US-based international journal on environmental and occupational health policy, focuses on women’s occupational health. Papers look at how policy, prejudice and practice combine to place women at risk at work and in the wider community. There are contributions from some of the top experts on workplace health and gender, including Professor Karen Messing, author of ‘One-eyed science: Occupational health and women workers.’
New Solutions, Special issue: Women's occupational health, volume 17, number 1-2, 2007 • Risks 3174 August 2007

Britain: Teachers ‘victims of sexist bullies in class’
Young teachers are increasingly seen as “fair game” by some pupils for sexual harassment including touching and innuendo, according to a report from teaching union NUT. The union’s study found young female teachers in particular are frequently confronted with sexist language and bullying in school.
Risks 2852 December 2006

Global: Gender equality, work and health
‘Gender equality, work and health’, a new review published by the World Health Organisation (WHO), documents the relationship between gender inequality and health and safety problems. It reviews gender issues in research, policies and programmes on work and health, and highlights some specific issues for women, including the types of jobs they do, as well as their need to reconcile the demands of work and family.
Gender equality, work and health: A review of the evidence, WHO, 2006 • Full report [pdf] • Risks 28318 November 2006

Britain: Older women’s workplace health “neglected”
Too little is known about the work and health of older women, according to a new report. ‘Older women, work and health’, a research paper jointly commissioned by Help the Aged and TAEN – The Age and Employment Network - shows that few studies have explored the links between the work and health of older women despite their increased participation in the labour market.
Risks 28211 November 2006

Britain: Payout for woman filmed by her boss
A woman whose boss bombarded her with love notes and who rigged up a CCTV camera to watch her at work has been awarded £16,500 compensation. Amicus member Heather Harrop, 42, became sick with stress and was forced to leave her job after she attracted the unwanted attention of Michael Richardson, 66.
Risks 280 28 October 2006

Sweden: Gender analysis lacking in research
Occupational medicine fails to take account of risks to women, according to a top occupational health research unit. Sonya Bylund, a researcher at Sweden’s globally respected National Institute for Working Life, said research in the field of occupational medicine is largely carried out on men, with the findings assumed to apply to women as well, adding legislation, risk assessment and measuring standards are often based on men.
Risks 27921 October 2006

Global: Road transport women put safety first
Women road transport workers are “very worried” about health and safety issues, a new survey from global transport union federation ITF shows. Initial results of an ongoing study found 43 per cent of respondents “expressed the highest level of concern,” it says.
Risks 27814 October 2006

Britain: Harassed woman awarded second payout
A woman made sick by sexual harassment at work has been awarded compensation. An Exeter employment tribunal this week ordered Councillor Tony Prior, the former mayor of Chard, Somerset to pay £33,697 in damages to former town clerk Sally Bing.
Risks 27814 October 2006

Britain: Long hours may be worse for women
A University of Leeds, study has concluded long work hours may affect women worse than men. Research has found that women who work longer hours were more likely to smoke, take less exercise, and eat unhealthily, patterns not seen in men.
Risks 26622 July 2006

Britain: Miscarriage welder wins damages
A female welder who raised safety concerns when pregnant and who went on to win a sex discrimination claim against her father's company has been awarded £7,500 for injury to feelings. Suzanne Bunning, 31, took GT Bunning of Dereham, Norfolk to an industrial tribunal after suffering a miscarriage.
Risks 26515 July 2006

Britain: Waitress wins harassment payout
A waitress made ill by the sexual harassment she experienced is to be paid £124,000 in compensation for unlawful discrimination and unlawful dismissal by a leading London restaurant. The London employment tribunal heard of a culture of bullying and harassment at the kitchen of Harry's Bar in Mayfair.
Risks 2518 April 2006

Britain: Campaign exposes chemical link to breast cancer
Women are being kept in the dark about the cancer risks from industrial chemicals, campaigners have warned. Public service union UNISON and the Women's Environmental Network (WEN) say their ‘Big See Challenge' will press the case for tighter controls on cancer causing chemicals.
Risks 2278 October 2005

USA: Passive smoking at work linked to breast cancer
Secondhand smoke exposure has been linked conclusively to breast cancer, with half of all cases linked to workplace exposures. The Californian study found exposure to secondhand smoke increased the risk of breast cancer by 70 per cent.
Risks 21516 July 2005

Britain: Women bear the brunt of back pain
Women suffer more back pain at work but are less likely to take time off, an official survey has found. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) survey also found women were less likely to tell their bosses they were in pain.
Risks 21225 June 2005

Britain: Pregnant women and risk assessment
A new TUC online guide provides a detailed and practical workers’ resource on pregnancy and risk assessments. TUC says safety representatives must ensure employers fulfil their legal obligations and protect both pregnant women and those who return to work while breast-feeding.
TUC pregnancy and risk assessment briefing
Risks 20323 April 2005

Britain: TUC's two step on women and work hazards
The TUC wants to know what's happening on women's health and safety in the workplace and has devised a two step plan.
Risks 19812 March 2005

USA: Metalworking fluids linked to breast cancer risk
Women with jobs that involve metalworking fluids may have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, a preliminary study suggests. The new study looked at women who spent at least three years working at one of three large car manufacturing plants in the US.
Risks 19626 February 2005

Sweden: Study finds work stress can give women diabetes
Women who experience stress and a lack of control over their work could be at great risk of diabetes, according to Swedish research.
Risks 19519 February 2005

Europe: Health at work is an equality issue
Cutting health risks and tackling stress at work are equality issues, a European conference of service sector unions has heard. Delegates to the UNI-Europa women's Conference in Brussels heard a gender specific approach to health and safety at work is needed to avoid "gender specific distortions in occupational health and safety."
Risks 18718 December 2004

Canada: Women's work worse than records show
Injury statistics do not provide a complete picture of the occupational hazards experienced by women in the workplace, according to a report in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Institute for Work and Health newsletter • PM Smith and CA Mustard. Examining the associations between physical work demands and work injury rates between men and women in Ontario, 1990-2000, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 61, pages 750-756, 2004 [abstract] • Risks 1854 December 2004

Global: High stress doubles risk of painful periods
High levels of stress double the risk of painful periods, according to new research. Dysmenorrhoea, or painful periods, is one of the most common gynaecological problems among women of childbearing age.
Risks 18320 November 2004

Britain: Stress 'linked to miscarriages'
Stress could be linked to miscarriages, researchers have suggested. A research team led by Dr Petra Arck monitored the progress of 864 pregnant women. Blood samples were taken at the start of their pregnancies. The women also completed standard questionnaires to measure their own perceptions of the stress they felt. It was found that the 55 women who miscarried were more likely to have reported stress than women whose pregnancies continued. Dr Arck said: 'We can clearly say that stress has a major impact on pregnancy maintenance.' The research was presented to a meeting of the British Society for Endocrinology last week. The authors say their work with mice suggests giving at-risk women extra doses of the hormone progesterone could protect pregnancies.
Risks 18213 November 2004

Denmark: Night shift work can be bad for pregnancies
Working a night shift can lead to longer pregnancies and lower birth weight babies, researchers have found. The researchers examined Danish statistics and concluded: "Night work may prolong the duration of pregnancy and reduce fetal growth, especially among industrial workers."
Risks 17418 September 2004

Britain: Ignorant bosses put pregnant employees at risk
Lack of awareness could be putting the health and well-being of pregnant women and their unborn babies at risk, says the shopworkers' union Usdaw. And two other reports from the Equal Opportunities Commission also call for workplace health and safety action.
Risks 17311 September 2004

Britain: "Frantic life syndrome" hits women workers
Working women in the UK think new technology makes their lives even more hectic, according to a new report. As a result, a growing number of career women are suffering from what has been dubbed "frantic life syndrome."
Risks 16914 August 2004

Britain Expectant and new mums feeling the heat
Shopworkers' union Usdaw is warning that pregnant workers could be wilting in the face of Britain's steamy summer weather.
Risks 16914 August 2004

Menopause A new TUC study reveals many women have jobs that could be making menopause-related symptoms worse, and calls on employers to provide better welfare facilities, rest breaks and a lot more forethought and understanding. [large pdf]

USA: Axing safety law left women at risk
President Bush's decision to axe an ergonomics safety law introduced in the last days of the Clinton presidency has left workers in the heavily female health care field particularly prone to injury.
Risks 16012 June 2004

Britain: Don't let employers be gender blind
General union GMB is urging safety reps to raise the profile of women's health and safety within their workplaces.
Risks 14713 March 2004

Women's work: Lots of risks and little work protection Women's health and safety is neglected, say unions - and something must be done about it.
Hazards 77 [pdf]

Europe: Work risks to women are neglected
Safety and health risks facing women at work tend to be underestimated and neglected, says a report from the Bilbao-based European Agency. Gender issues in safety and health - a review says its investigation found the traditional prevention approach can underestimate work-related risks to women.
European Agency news release, report and new gender websiteRisks 14131 January 2004

Europe: The gender workplace health gap in Europe
A new report from the European trade union safety think tank TUTB says women's issues tend to be absent from health and safety policies. It says the hazards involved are either unknown or underestimated and priorities are defined in male-dominated sectors and occupations, and recommends improvements.
Risks 14024 January 2004

Global Workplace health research isn’t the fairest of them all
A gender blind approach to occupational health research is can undermine efforts to properly assess the impact of work on health. An international group of researchers, writing in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, conclude gender-sensitive practices enrich the scientific quality of research and should lead to better data and ultimately to well-targeted prevention programmes.
Karen Messing and others. Be the fairest of them all: Challenges and recommendations for the treatment of gender in occupational health research, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, vol.43 (6), pages 618-29, 2003 [abstract] • Risks 12023 August 2003

Five point programme for positive pregnancies
A national charity has launched a Pregnancy Accreditation Programme for UK employers. Tommy's, the baby charity, will vet employers wanting accreditation to make sure they attain five key goals: encouraging attendance at ante-natal sessions at times convenient for the pregnant worker; providing a smoke-free workplace; providing easily accessible smoke-free rest areas; providing healthy pregnancy information; and making available to all employees details of current laws and guidance on pregnancy at work.
Risks 1818 September 2001

 

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