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Ergonomics: not always woman-friendly!

by , 26 March 2013
I'm not promoting sexual harassment here... and as a woman, I strongly condemn discrimination in the workplace!
Usually, 'cheap' women are not ideal... except if they are cheap dates and only order a soda water and salad! The truth is that even in business, women will cost you more money!
Of course, this does NOT mean that you shouldn't employ women, or discriminate against them. That is illegal!
Women in the workplace
From a health and safety perspective, it's a research-proven fact that your female employee is more likely to suffer injuries than her male counterpart!

Female employees suffer a higher degree of musculo-skeletal disorders and injuries, followed by fractures and a high incidence of lead poisoning as a result of occupational injuries and illnesses.
 
There are two major reasons why women are more prone to occupational injuries and illnesses.
 
Body fat and poisoning
 
The first reason as to why women are more likely to suffer from injuries and illnesses, is because in general, women have more body fat than men. This means that toxic substances for example, lead, are more likely to be stored in the body fat of women. As a result, women have more severe adverse results due to poisoning than men.
 
Ergonomics: not always woman-friendly!
 
Secondly, unfortunately, a lot of the equipment and machinery in the workplace is designed for the male body and may not fit the female body. This means that there is an automatic increase in incidents, near incidents, and injuries amongst female employees.
 
The fact that the female worker, on average, is not physically as strong as the male worker, may result in the female worker being required to over-extend herself physically in order to perform a manual task. This explains the high incidence of musculo-skeletal injuries and disorders.
 
So now what?
 
For starters, here is what you can do to ensure the health and safety of your female employees:
 
  • Conduct a risk assessment specific to female workers
  • Refer to Chapter M01 in your Health and Safety Advisor to help you to conduct a successful medical surveillance in your workplace
  • Ensure that your PPE will accommodate female employees
  • Read Chapter W05 in your Health and Safety Advisor to find 7 ways in which you can manage the health and safety of your female employees in the workplace
  • Manage the health and safety of your pregnant employees.
 
REMEMBER: As a valued customer, you have access to all of these Chapters in all our Updates of the Health and Safety Advisor from our online archive. Go to membership.fspbusiness.co.za if you can't find these chapters in your binder or updates.
 
Look after all your employees at the workplace and ensure that they are safe and healthy at all times. You'll have a more efficient and productive workforce, and what's more, you'll be 100% legally compliant, 100% of the time!
 
Until next time, yours in health and safety,
 
FSP Business 

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