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Study finds depression increases work-related injuries for women

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2018 | Georgia Workers' Compensation

According to the latest census data, women account for 57.9 percent of Georgia’s workforce. Working women often juggle the demands of home and work, which can be stressful. While not always the case, the constant balancing act between shifting priorities can lead to mental health concerns.

Higher risk for injury

A new study found women who suffer from depression, anxiety or fatigue are more prone to workplace injuries. The study looked at almost 17,000 employees, ranging from all levels of employment and economic status.

The researchers found an interesting trend. While men were more likely to get hurt on the job, mental health factors did not increase their risk for injury. Conversely, women suffering from mental health issues had an increased risk of suffering a work-related injury. To put it in perspective, nearly 60 percent of women experienced a behavioral health issue before becoming injured at work compared to only 33 percent of men.

Statistically higher

Depression is the most common mental illness in the U.S., with statistics estimating about 18 percent of the population suffers from depression. Depression is more common in women than men and the average onset age is 32. While feeling sad or down is a normal reaction to stressful events in life, the manifestation of low moods in those suffering from depression is more severe and persistent. Symptoms include feelings of sadness or anxiety, loss of interest in life’s activities, fatigue and insomnia.

In the workplace, symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty concentrating and making decisions can have an impact on the ability to perform daily functions. When an employee cannot concentrate or stay focused, the risk of injury is significantly higher. Workplace injuries are a serious problem. Although men account for nearly 96 percent of workplace fatalities in Georgia, women are still are risk for death and injury on the job.

Fair compensation

In many worker’s compensation cases the employee, or surviving family members of a worker who died, are eligible for compensation. If eligible, the employee or family can receive lost wages and help with medical expenses from their employer’s accident insurance program. However, employers and their insurance company often deny claims and having legal assistance with filing the claim is highly recommended. An attorney will act as an advocate while navigating the claim process.

Although the researchers said further study is needed to better understand the correlation between behavior health conditions and work-related injuries, they offered a suggestion to employers. The researchers advocated for an integrated workplace safety approach to address mental health and overall wellbeing in additional to traditional safety concerns.

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