National Women In Construction Week is March 3-9 and aims to recognize that women make up a large component of the construction industry. The construction industry employees thousands across the United States and the industry is forever growing. Many times, when you think about the industry you may not think about the amount of women that work in construction. At Kaufman Law, we have successfully represented both men and women for workers' compensation cases.
Of the total number of women working in construction, only a small amount are production workers, such as laborers, electricians, or plumbers, while about half hold clerical and support positions. Common jobs for women in this industry, however, are painters, carpenters, repair workers, and truck drivers.
Women in construction have special risks that can make their job inherently dangerous. Typically, women in the construction field face issues in their overall workplace culture and in their health/safety.
Often times, women in construction, or other fields that are dominated by men, experience belittling, harassment, and sometimes even assault. Additionally, many women in male dominated fields, such as construction, feel isolated from their co-workers and sometimes do not receive the same amount of attention or training regarding their job duties. Lastly, many women in construction often feel vulnerable to losing their jobs, making them reluctant to report safety hazards or harassment.
In Georgia, it is illegal to fire someone if they report a workplace injury. Therefore, it is highly encouraged that you report your injury to your supervisor immediately so that you can start receiving the help you need. If you do not receive the help you are entitled to, is is very wise to seek a workers' compensation attorney.
Health + Safety:
There are health and safety concerns for both men and women in the construction industry, but some have a greater impact on women. Women do have lower death rates, however, because they are less likely to be assigned the most hazardous jobs. The major causes of death for women in construction are transportation incidents, violence, and falls. For men, the major causes are falls, transportation incidents and contact with objects or equipment.
Many women in construction work as flaggers, which is an occupation with a high death rate. Women who work in construction offices are prone to violence and it has been shown that homicide is the largest cause of on-the-job death for women in the United States. Women are not exempt from your typical construction job injuries, such as overexertion.
Other problems that specifically women face in the construction industry is the fact that many tools that have to be used in the field are too large or heavy for women to use correctly. Often times, the tool sizes they need to conduct their job adequately are not available. In addition to the tools provided, the safety gear and equipment given is also commonly too large which poses a huge risk. Lastly, women in the construction field have to be extra cautious of chemicals if they are pregnant or hope to become pregnant. Exposure to certain substances for a prolonged amount of time can put these women at a huge risk for reproductive difficulties. In addition, pregnancy, family, and medical leave are rarely available in the construction industry making job insecurity a large concern.