Factsheet 43 - Including gender issues in risk assessment
Continuous efforts are needed to improve the working conditions of both women and men. However, taking a ‘gender-neutral’ approach to risk assessment and prevention can result in risks to female workers being underestimated or even ignored altogether. When we think about hazards at work, we are more likely to think of men working in high accident risk areas such as a building site or a fishing vessel than of women working in health and social care or in new areas such as call centres. A careful examination of real work circumstances shows that both women and men can face significant risks at work. In addition, making jobs easier for women will make them easier for men too. So it is important to include gender issues in workplace risk assessments, and ‘mainstreaming’ gender issues into risk prevention is now an objective of the European Community. Table shows some examples of hazards and risks found in female-dominated work areas.