According to experts who spoke at a women’s workplace safety summit, safety issues faced by working women in Pennsylvania and other parts of the country are not being sufficiently addressed. It’s an important issue due to the fact that 70 percent of the nearly 17,000 employees who experienced trauma as a result of workplace violence in 2016 were female according to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures. Topics covered during the gathering included ill-fitting personal protective equipment and workplace violence affecting women working in healthcare and retail occupations.
A senior loss control consultant for a workers’ comp insurer said she frequently sees claims concerning violence in the healthcare and social services sectors that significantly impact women. A technical safety specialist at a leading industrial supplies and equipment provider spoke about under-reported issues with violence experienced by women working at late-night gas stations. With regards to ill-fitting personal protective equipment, a different group of experts noted that part of the problem may be that not many manufacturers make the equipment with women in mind.
Sharing stories of women affected by workplace violence was one solution for increasing awareness of workplace safety issues suggested at the summit. The American Society of Safety Professionals plans to address the issue by producing guidelines that employers can use for workplace violence prevention programs based on data they plan to gather concerning workplace violence and under-reported verbal altercations. The guidelines will discuss accountability, the importance of creating a safety culture and steps that employers can take to get workers involved in the process of improving workplace conditions.
When a workplace accident or injury affects any type of employee, the first step typically taken is to report the incident. If any employer fails to accept a worker’s compensation claim or delays payments, a lawyer may be able to resolve the issue. This process sometimes involves looking for additional evidence that might show lapses with safety procedures and failures to address safety concerns. An attorney may also look for patterns of failing to provide sufficient training or properly fitting equipment specific to workers’ gender, height and weight.