Women s Occupational Health and Safety in New Zealand. Mark Wagstaffe Centre for Public Health Research Massey University

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1 Women s Occupational Health and Safety in New Zealand Mark Wagstaffe Centre for Public Health Research Massey University

2 NOHSAC Committee Professor Neil Pearce Professor Philippa Gander Professor John Langley Dr Evan Dryson

3 Authors - CPHR Andrea T Mannetje Tania Slater David McLean Amanda Eng Celia Briar Jeroen Douwes

4 Current NOHSAC reports QuickTime and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.

5 Aim of the report The report provides: an overview of what is currently known about women s occupational health and safety in New Zealand background information on how sex and gender issues can influence women s and men s OHS information on the prevalence of OHS issues in women and men an overview of New Zealand s OHS practice and programmes in relation to women s OHS. an outline of the gaps in our knowledge of women s OHS in New Zealand.

6 Burden of Disease and Injury Most published research (used in the BODI report) presents information only, or predominantly, on males. This must be taken into account, as the nature and extent of women s involvement in the workforce is probably changing to a greater extent than those of men. This means the disorders of which they are at risk, and the associated risks, are probably changing more than they are for men

7 Statistics - NOHSAC about 700-1,000 deaths from occupational disease, particularly cancer, respiratory disease and ischaemic heart disease about 80% of these deaths occur in men. about 100 deaths from occupational injury 17,000-20,000 new cases of work-related disease about 200,000 occupational accidents resulting in ACC claims.

8 Statistics New Zealand There were 67 claims lodged for fatal injuries that occurred in 2007, and the large majority of these claims were for males. Fatal injury claims are those claims made to ACC for deaths that resulted from either workplace injuries (for instance, a work-related fall) or occupational diseases (for instance, asbestos-related illnesses).

9 Statistics New Zealand Males accounted for more work-related injury claims than females in all occupation groups, with the exception of service and sales workers, clerks, and professionals, where females made 60, 57 and 51 percent of claims, respectively. Males made 97 percent of all claims by trades workers, 87 percent of all claims by plant and machine operators and assemblers, and 78 percent of all claims by agriculture and fishery workers.

10 Workforce demographics

11 Assumptions There are persistent assumptions regarding women s occupational health that are not evidence based. As long as these unfounded assumptions prevail, women s occupational health and safety is unlikely to be addressed adequately. Some of these assumptions are: women s jobs are safe women s occupational health only includes reproductive health women are more likely to complain without a real cause or a cause related to work knowledge about men s OHS is fully applicable to women.

12 Exposure studies There is a lack of occupational exposure studies in women and inadequacies in exposure assessment in general. the vast majority of occupational exposure studies have been done in predominantly male working populations. This data can often not be extrapolated to women doing the same job, as men and women in the same occupation tend to have different exposure profiles. tasks within the same occupation tend to differ between men and women (task segregation) the same workstations and personal protective equipment may have differential effects on women s and men s occupational exposures.

13 Data Inadequacies in routinely collected data: official statistics currently give less information about women s occupational health and safety than that of men, which can result in an underestimation of women s occupational health and safety problems women s occupation is recorded on cancer registrations and death registrations to a lesser extent than men s, so that occupational health statistics based on these data can sometimes only be reported for men.

14 Diagnosis Inadequacies in diagnosis in occupational disease in general and women in particular: for many occupational diseases it is known that they are severely under-diagnosed. It is likely that the under-diagnosis is more severe in women than in men for women their occupation is less frequently considered as a potential cause of their disease than for men (e.g. hearing disorders), or the disease itself is less likely to be diagnosed in women than in men (e.g. COPD) under-diagnosis will result in an under-estimation of the problem and therefore lack of effort to solve it. Under-diagnosis may also result in delay of appropriate treatment and lack of compensation.

15 Other barriers The gender-neutral nature of prevention programmes most prevention programmes are gender-neutral, thus ignoring the gender dimension when addressing women s occupational health and safety. A gender-sensitive is more likely to address women s occupational health to an equal extent as men s. Considering only paid work as relevant for occupational health and safety. Whether a job is paid or not does not determine whether a job can impact on health. Occupational health and safety problems can occur as a result of unpaid housework, unpaid care giving, and unpaid work in a family business. Women do significantly more unpaid work compared to men

16 Other barriers Ignoring of the impact of exposures occurring outside the paid work situation on occupational health and safety risk factors that occur outside the workplace can interact with or add to risk factors occurring in the workplace, thus initiating or exacerbating occupational health and safety problems (e.g. fatigue due to caring tasks at home and workplace accidents; skin conditions compromised due to household products, resulting in exacerbated occupational dermatitis) because of the gender inequality that exists outside the workplace (e.g. women still carry more household and caring tasks than men), a more holistic approach is needed when addressing women s occupational health and safety, be it in research, prevention or in legislation.

17 Evolving Work Environment Work and the working environment are changing dramatically in New Zealand. This is generating new occupational disease and injury risks and exacerbating existing ones. Significant OHS challenges are emerging as a result of: the recasting of labour supply increasing proportions of women, Māori, Pacific, younger and older people are engaging in paid work the changing content of work an increase in the service industries and the mechanisation of traditional blue collar work new technology the greater diffusion of information and communication technologies, nanotechnology and biotechnology at work

18 Evolving Work Environment hours of work long and increasingly non-standard hours are being worked non-standard forms of employment increasing casual, contract, temporary contractor and outsourced work arrangements changing flows of work and labour especially changing recruitment practices, retrenchment, retirement and re-engagement labour flows business organisations particularly the size and nature of business enterprises gaps in workforce representation associated with declining unionism and significant self-employment.

19 Part-time Work QuickTime and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.

20 Evolving Work Environment The high-level challenges arising out of the changing work environment are: an increasing need to engage with a more demographically diverse working population (especially female, Māori and Pacific workers, and younger and older workers) the decline in some traditional occupational hazards of the past being off-set by risks and issues associated with a lack of physical activity including long periods of sitting or standing, repetitive movements, complexity of new work processes and obesity total workload arising from the long hours worked by many employees in conjunction with unpaid work

21 Evolving Work Environment psychosocial risks associated with changes in work design, organisation and management including work intensification, poor work/life balance and high emotional demands at work increased occupational health and safety risks arising from: poorer training shorter employment periods decreased reporting of incidents amongst employees engaged in more precarious work arrangements.

22 Recommendations - Women s OHS More occupational exposure studies in women workers need to be conducted. Studies on occupational ill-health need to employ gender-sensitive research methods. Routinely collected health data should record women s occupations. Statistics on prevalence or incidence by sex need to be collected, particularly for those health conditions for which this information is currently lacking, e.g. infectious diseases, health effects of working temperatures, reproductive health, and occupational stress. Tools, machinery and PPE need to be appropriate for the physiology of female workers.

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