Report Puts Gender on Workplace Health and Safety Agenda

Although women make up more than half of the working population in the European
Union (EU), the jobs they do, their working conditions, and how they are
treated by society are different than those of men.

Research by the European Union Occupational Health and Safety Agency (EU-OSHA)
shows that women and men are concentrated in certain jobs, and therefore face
hazards particular to those jobs; that they are physically different, including
with respect to reproduction; and they have different responsibilities in the
home (working women may hold a job as well as work in the home).

Research has shown that inequality both within and outside the workplace can
affect the health and safety of women at work. It is therefore important to
recognise these differences and take a 'gender sensitive' approach to health
and safety at work.

A report from the European Union Occupational Health and Safety Agency
(EU-OSHA) looks at gender issues at work. It provides an overview of the trends
in employment and working conditions, hazard exposure and work-related
accidents and health problems for women at work. The report explores selected
issues (combined exposures, occupational cancer, access to rehabilitation,
women and informal work, and "emerging" female professions such as home care
and domestic work). The research highlights the type of work carried out by
women, issues faced by younger and older women, the growth of the service
sector, violence and harassment, and increasingly diversified working time
patterns as major risk factors. These factors can affect the hazards they face
at work and the approach that needs to be taken to assess and control them.

This report contains an update to EU-OSHA's previous research (2003) on gender
issues at work and provides figures on the effects of the recent economic
downturn on women at work. Gender inequalities in the workplace and work-life
balance issues have become increasingly important as the employment rates of
women have continued to grow across the EU. "Much remains to be done,
especially for older and younger women, to ensure decent work for all. This
focus on workplace health and safety benefits not only women but also men who
work, and can lead to improved workplaces", states the report.

More information - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work