Accidents at work are increasing significantly among women

Posted Jul 28, 2022, 3:38 PM

Are women insufficiently protected in the workplace? This seems to indicate a study by the National Agency for the Improvement of Working Conditions (Anact) published in early July.

According to this study covering the period 2001-2019, the number of work accidents fell by 11%. This drop corresponds to a significant decline among men (-27%) but it masks a very sharp increase in the number of accidents among women (+46%).

This significant increase must however be slightly nuanced by the concomitant increase in the employment rate of women, which rose from 57.7% in 2003 to 62.5% in 2019, according to INSEE data.

The situation is getting worse

The situation seems to have deteriorated in recent years: if accidents fell overall between 2001 and 2019, they started to rise again over the period 2013-2019, points out the study. This increase concerns exclusively women (+18.3%). Accidents involving men stagnated (-0.1%) over the period. At the end of 2021, the Ministry of Labor had also noted that for ten years, the number of accidents at work had not fallen any more, except in 2020 due to confinements.

While women are less exposed to fatal accidents, 90% of which concern men, in terms of duration of work stoppage, women’s accidents (73.8 days) are more serious than those of men (67.9 days) and this in all sectors, except construction. In this sector, accidents involving women increased by 85%, while those involving men fell by 30%.

The trend is similar in other sectors. Service activities (health, social action, cleaning, temporary work) account for the most work accidents for women, writes Anact. In this sector, the agency has noted a 110% increase in accidents at work involving women since 2001. At the same time, accidents at work among men have decreased by 13%.

“Insufficient” prevention policies

According to Anact, “women enter predominantly male sectors in positions exposed to the risk of occupational accidents” where “prevention policies provide insufficient protection”. Moreover, in predominantly female sectors, such as health, social or cleaning, the Agency notes that “the risks are probably under-evaluated” and “prevention policies are still insufficiently developed”.

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